Diabetes Drug Rejection Draws Criticism

The recent rejection of the popular diabetes medication Lucentis has draw harsh criticism from the manufacturer, as well as the charity known as Diabetes UK. Both contend that the rejection is based primarily on cost.

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) made their final draft guidance which recommends that the medication not be used. The decision has raised concerns about the reason behind it.

Lucentis, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, is also known under the generic name of ranibizumab. It is generally prescribed to treat diabetic macular odema, or DMO, a serious eye condition in diabetic patients.

But the major drawback of the medication is its high cost. Many experts warn that this latest decision to stop it's use could have a very negative impact on many diabetics who suffer from this condition. Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, is one who disagrees with the decision.

“The cost of looking after people with sight loss far outweighs the cost of Lucentis treatment, let alone the human cost,” said Young. “We are very concerned local health services will use this decision as an excuse to stop treatment.”

But NICE says that it had other reason for making their decision. They had discovered that Novartis' model was not based on utilizing all of the available information. They found that the pharmaceutical giant did not consider all areas, such as the cost-effectiveness ratio for Lucentis monotherapy as it compared to the typical treatment options for patients with DMO.

The chief executive of NICE, Sir Andrew Dillon, explained the organization's decision. Dillon stated that the group was “acutely aware that visual impairments can have a substantial negative impact on quality of life and activities of daily living in people with DMO, especially since it can affect people's ability to manage their diabetes.”

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