The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended faricimab as treatment option for adults with wet age-related macular degeneration or diabetic macular oedema.
Thousands of people in England could benefit from the recommendation of a new drug that helps to treat two leading causes of sight loss and visual impairment.
Faricimab is administered as an eye injection and is being recommended as an option for treating some adults with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or with diabetic macular oedema (DMO).
In the key clinical trials, aflibercept, another eye injection drug used to treat AMD and DMO, was administered every 8 weeks, while faricimab dosing, based on assessments of the disease activity, allowed for an interval of up to 16 weeks between doses, and was found to be equally effective.
Up to 300,000 people in England with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could be eligible to receive faricimab as part of their treatment alongside just over 28,000 people with diabetic macular oedema.
The final draft guidance is published just a week after faricimab was announced as the first treatment to be licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) through its participation in the Access Consortium ‘New Active Substance Work Sharing Initiative’.
Helen Knight, interim director for medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to recommend this treatment to help tackle two leading causes of vision loss so close to its license just last week.
“We are determined to drive innovations like these into the hands of clinicians to help patients as soon possible. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in other healthcare organizations to ensure we deliver progressive treatments which balance the best care with value for money, delivering both for individuals and society as a whole.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s excellent news that Faricimab will be rolled out across England to help thousands of patients suffering from sight loss and visual impairment.
“Now we have left the EU, the UK is free to team up with other world-leading experts to support initiatives and research, speed up the approval process for medicines, and maintain the highest safety standards.
“This is a great example of UK patients getting quicker access to ground-breaking treatments and I’m grateful to NICE for playing its part in making this possible.”
NICE’s committee found that faricimab is likely to be cost saving or have a similar cost compared with aflibercept or ranibizumab and is likely to deliver similar health benefits.
“A confidential price discount, or patient access scheme, has been agreed between NHS England and NHS Improvement and the company,” said NICE.
The final appraisal documents (FAD) on faricimab to treat wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular oedema are open to appeal and are available to view in full on the NICE website.
The final guidance is due to be published on June 29.