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NICE approves treatment for chronic diabetic macular oedema

Change of heart follows rapid review of guidance

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 01 October 2013

NICE has today approved a medicine that it previously refused for the treatment of a common eye problem in people with diabetes.

In final draft guidance published by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant (Iluvien, Alimera Sciences) is recommended as an option for the treatment of chronic diabetic macular oedema considered insufficiently responsive to available therapies.

NICE’s original guidance, published in January 2013, did not recommend fluocinolone.  But NICE conducted a rapid review of this guidance because the manufacturer submitted a patient access scheme, which is a scheme proposed by a pharmaceutical company and agreed between the company and the Department of Health.  It provides a discount to the list price of fluocinolone to the NHS and aims to improve its cost-effectiveness. 

As a result NICE now proposes to give the treatment the green light for treating chronic diabetic macular oedema that is insufficiently responsive to available therapies if:

  • the implant is to be used in an eye with an intraocular (pseudophakic) lens,  and
  • the manufacturer makes it available to the NHS under the terms agreed with the Department of Health as part of a patient access scheme.

Commenting on the decision, Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE said: “Around 14% of people with diabetes in the UK have diabetic macular oedema, which can cause blurred or double vision in those affected.  NICE is, therefore, pleased to be able to recommend fluocinolone for some people with this condition in final draft guidance.”

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