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Macular Degeneration: Drugs

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will overrule the draft National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines approving the use of the drug Lucentis for only a limited proportion of the patients who suffer from wet age-related macular degeneration; and if she will make a statement. (143825)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent body, established to issue evidence-based advice to the national health service on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of new and existing treatments. NICE has published for consultation its preliminary recommendations on the use of Macugen and Lucentis for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. Stakeholders have until 5 July to submit comments to NICE, following which NICE’s Appraisal Committee will formulate its final advice for the NHS.

The Department is a stakeholder in the guidance development process and will be submitting a response to NICE’s consultation, but it would not be appropriate for Ministers to intervene in the conduct of a NICE appraisal.

Pending final guidance from NICE, NHS bodies should continue to make local decisions on the use of Lucentis and Macugen, taking account of the available evidence.