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CCG given the go ahead to draw up plans to save millions on drug costs

Health chiefs at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are about to start on plans to explore the opportunities of prescribing a safe and equally effective alternative drug to treat age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) after being given the official go ahead by its Governing Body today.

In a bold move, the CCG asked its Governing Body members for the approval to look at ways of implementing a Bevacizumab service for local patients with ARMD, the most common cause of vision loss in people aged 50 or over.

ARMD causes a gradual loss of central vision which is needed for detailed work and activities such as reading and driving. Visual loss can occur within months, or over many years depending on the type and severity of ARMD and cannot normally be reversed.

Dr Andrew Phillips, Deputy Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Vale of York CCG said: “I’m delighted that our Governing Body has given the approval to develop a business case for the local use of Bevacizumab.

“Our business case is built upon solid evidence that Bevacizumab is as safe and effective as Ranibizumab, a drug that costs 10-20 times more. In September 2014 the Cochrane Collaboration (the top authority on medical research) published a review of evidence which stated that the two drugs are equally safe.

“If the General Medical Council (GMC) slightly alters its guidance and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) appraises bevacizumab, the CCG could prescribe bevacizumab and save £4m per year.

“This is the equivalent of either; the running of a full A&E department for six months, 5000 cataract operations or an eight bed neo-natal intensive care unit for one year.”

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