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CCGs face legal threat for offering off-label drug for wet AMD

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5021 (Published 01 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5021
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. The BMJ

The drug companies Bayer and Novartis have threatened to take the NHS to court over a new policy to offer patients with wet age-related macular degeneration a choice of drugs to treat their condition, including details of price.

Twelve CCGs across northeast England and Cumbria are facing judicial review because they are planning to offer bevacizumab (Roche’s Avastin), which is not licensed for wet AMD, alongside ranibizumab (Lucentis, marketed by Novartis) and aflibercept (Eylea, Bayer), which are approved by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating the condition in the NHS. The CCGs say that the policy will save them up to £13.5m (€15m; $18m) over the next five years.1

If hospital trusts in the area agree the plan, patients who receive a new diagnosis of wet AMD will be told that bevacizumab is the preferred choice, because it is as clinically effective as ranibizumab and …

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