By Alexa Kaczka
A health authority has turned down the opportunity to provide a drug that could possibly save the sight of patients, in a move that has shocked many.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) rejected an appeal from four charities to fund the drug Lucentis, which is administered by injection and can improve eyesight for patients suffering from diabetic macular oedema, on the NHS.
According to Simon O'Neill, director of care, information and advocacy at Diabetes UK, he is "naturally" disappointed that NICE has turned down the appeal, as he believes the treatment is "vital" in preventing people from needlessly losing their sight.
"Diabetic retinopathy is the leading causes of blindness in people of working age in the UK and the human impact of this stretches far beyond the financial costs," he added.
According to the National Eye Institute, all people with diabetes are at risk of diabetic retinopathy – both type 1 and type 2 sufferers – while the longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get the condition.
by Martin Burns