LONDON, December 14 /PRNewswire/ --
- Second Appraisal Consultation Document Fails to Provide Choice for Patients and Ophthalmologists
Pfizer Limited today expresses concern that the latest NICE appraisal consultation document (ACD) regarding the use of treatments for wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), fails to provide any treatment choice for patients or physicians, by recommending only one anti-VEGF therapy for AMD.
NICE's second ACD again fails to recommend Macugen(R) (pegaptanib) for patients affected by wet AMD in England and Wales, in stark contrast to Scotland where the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved its use.
Macugen works in a different, selective way to the sole recommended anti-VEGF treatment ranibizumab; like it, Macugen is licensed to treat all forms of wet AMD,(1) and offers the potential to preserve the sight of those AMD patients for whom ranibizumab is clinically inappropriate. Without effective treatment for their AMD, these patients risk losing their sight.
Steve Winyard, Head of Public Policy at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) commented: 'We welcome NICE's proposed changes as a major way forward in providing treatment to thousands of people with wet AMD. However, we would like NICE to reconsider its recommendation not to allow the use of Macugen on the NHS. Doctors should be able to choose between the available licensed treatments, based on their clinical judgement of what is in the best interest of the individual patient. This is the position in Scotland and patients in England and Wales deserve no less.'
This view was echoed by Andrew Lotery, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Southampton, who commented: 'In my opinion, both of the licensed anti-VEGF treatments should be made available to ophthalmologists. It should be at the discretion of the physician to decide which anti-VEGF medication is most clinically appropriate for a given patient.'
There are approximately 26,000 new cases of wet AMD in the UK each year(2) and AMD is the leading cause of sight-loss for people over the age of 50 in the Western world.(3)
Dr David Gillen, Medical Director at Pfizer Limited said: 'Pfizer is extremely disappointed that this second ACD does not recommend the use of Macugen. Throughout the appraisal process Pfizer's position has been clear - patients and their physicians should have a choice over which anti-VEGF treatment is appropriate for individual patients - one treatment does not fit all. Macugen has been shown to maintain vision in patients with all types of wet AMD and has a licence to reflect this. It is unacceptable that patients in England and Wales should still be denied the choices that patients in Scotland have.'
Pfizer Inc, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines in 11 therapeutic areas including oncology, cardiovascular, pain, neuroscience and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Pfizer is also the world's largest animal health company.
Pfizer Inc employs approximately 90,000 colleagues worldwide, all of whom are devoted to working for a healthier world. Pfizer conducts more biomedical research than any other organisation, and has 12,000 professionals working in six major R&D sites worldwide, including Sandwich in Kent. Pfizer's annual UK R&D investment is more than GBP550 million - more than GBP10 million a week.
In the UK, Pfizer has its European R&D headquarters at Sandwich and its UK business headquarters in Surrey, and is the major supplier of medicines to the NHS.
(1) Macugen Summary of Product Characteristics
(2) National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Appraisal Consultation Document (ranibizumab and pegaptanib for age-related macular degeneration); 14 July 2007.
(3) AMD Alliance [Online]. Homepage - Age Related Macular Degeneration (cited 12 June 2007). Available from http://www.amdalliance.org/
For further information please contact: Clare Pressney or Ann Blumenstock, Resolute Communications, Tel: +44(0)20-7357-8187; Press Office, Pfizer Ltd, Tel: +44(0)1737-332-332, Fax: +44(0)1737-332-527, E-mail: email@example.com