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Charity to support sight drug fight

A national charity is to fund a war veteran's legal fight for access to sight-saving drugs.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) is operating an "illegal blanket ban" on medicines to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Dennis Devier, 84, from Henley, who cares for his disabled wife, will now take his case to get access to anti-VEGF drugs to the High Court.

Steve Winyard, RNIB's head of campaigns, said: "Oxfordshire PCT has told Dennis that for him to be eligible for sight-saving treatment he must be an 'exceptional case'.

"In RNIB's view he is. Oxfordshire PCT claims to be operating a policy where they consider treatment on an individual basis, but as far as we understand they have not funded a single case of anti-VEGF treatment."

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has already issued draft NHS guidance on two anti-VEGF drugs, Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Macugen (pegaptanib).

The decision, which is still open to consultation, recommends that Macugen should not be used on the NHS and says Lucentis should only be given to 20% of patients with a particular type of wet AMD.

A statement from the PCT said: "Oxfordshire PCT has received a letter from the solicitor acting on behalf of Mr Devier and the issues raised in the letter are currently under consideration."


Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust

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