Intended for healthcare professionals


CCGs win right to offer patients Avastin for wet AMD

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 24 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k4035
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. BMJ

A group of 12 clinical commissioning groups in the north of England have won a legal battle to offer patients a choice to use off-label bevacizumab to treat wet age related macular degeneration, which they say will save the NHS millions of pounds.

In November last year the drug companies Novartis and Bayer brought legal proceedings against the CCGs because they had decided to offer bevacizumab (Roche’s Avastin), which is not licensed for treatment of wet AMD, alongside ranibizumab (Lucentis, marketed by Novartis) and aflibercept (Bayer’s Eylea), which are approved by the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for treating the condition in the NHS.1

The companies opposed the policy on four grounds: they said that the supply of bevacizumab was unlawful because it was not licensed for ophthalmic use; it undermined drug regulation; it undermined patients’ right to have a NICE approved drug; and the patient information sheet accompanying the policy was misleading.

However, in the High Court Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed the application for judicial review on all grounds and found in favour of the CCG’s policy. She said that the companies’ arguments that the NHS could not consider bevacizumab unless Roche applied for a licence for …

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