Cost regulators for the NHS in England and Wales are backing routine NHS use of Allergan’s Ozurdex and AbbVie’s Humira to treat non-infectious posterior uveitis, a form of preventable vision loss.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published a Final Appraisal Determination recommending the drugs as cost and clinically-effective treatment options for people with sight-threatening posterior non-infectious posterior uveitis.
Both Ozurdex (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) and Humira (adalimumab) are only recommended in the presence of active disease (that is, current inflammation in the eye) and worsening vision with a risk of blindness.
According to Allergan, its implant is currently funded for posterior segment uveitis in some parts of the country but not in others, meaning that access to treatment can be dependent on where the patient lives rather than clinical need.
The decision “recognises the value of Ozurdex as a corticosteroid-sparing treatment option and fulfils an unmet need for patients with non-infectious uveitis,” said Mr Fahd Quhill, consultant ophthalmologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
“If confirmed as guidance, it would mean that the NHS would fund Ozurdex for patients with this condition which would benefit not only patients themselves but also those treating them.”
“As final guidance, it would mean improved access to treatments, including Ozurdex and their availability in places where this was impossible before,” added Jessica Hall, advocacy policy project officer from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
“Given that the vision loss associated with uveitis is potentially avoidable, it is right that the NHS pays for treatments that NICE has shown are cost and clinically effective in this area”.