Scots given sight-saving drug, but not the English


20,000 'may go blind' after being denied sight-saving drug available to Scots
By JENNY HOPE, Daily Mail

7th August 2006

20,000 'may go blind' after being denied sight-saving drug available to Scots

Thousands of older people in England and Wales are being denied a sight-saving drug that has been approved for use in Scotland, it has emerged.

Campaigners claim at least 20,000 people will go blind unnecessarily because of delays by a drug 'rationing' watchdog.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is not due to start reviewing the use of Macugen until January 2007.

It could not be given the go-ahead until August next year at the earliest - by which time an estimated 20,000 people in England and Wales will have succumbed to the age-related condition.

Macugen is designed to combat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which normally affects people over 60, and is injected directly into the eye.

Steve Winyard, head of research for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said doctors are allowed to prescribe Macugen, but it is not being used because of its 4,000 annual cost.

He said the expense means primary care trusts are failing to back the drug until they get a ruling from NICE.

But the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), which is the equivalent body north of the border, has just approved the use of Macugen. Around 2,000 Scottish patients will benefit each year.

Mr Winyard said 'While it's great news that people in Scotland with wet AMD will be able to get treatment with Macugen, it doesn't help people with wet AMD in the rest of the UK.

'Patients' inability to obtain Macugen means that as many as 20,000 people will go blind unnecessarily over the next year.

'We believe NICE should be using its fast-track system to get Macugen reviewed more quickly.

'The delays appear to be due to the fact that the drug is not regarded as life-saving, but to many people losing their sight comes close to losing their lives.

'I would move to Scotland if I needed the drug because this condition can't wait' he added.

"Give us some more money, you wee English b**tards. And those sight-saving drugs? Yae can ferget about those. They ours! All ours! Hahaha!"

If administered as an early enough stage, Macugen can halt the spread of the disease by targeting abnormal blood vessels that grow behind the eyeball.

These vessels can leak and cause damage to parts of the eye responsible for central vision.

Patients affected by this end up with limited vision, while many go completely blind.

Macugen, also known as pegaptanib, is made by Pfizer.

A spokesman for NICE said: 'NICE has been asked to appraise both pegaptanib (Macugen) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.

'Pegaptanib (Macugen) was licensed for use across Europe in February 2006, but ranibizumab (Lucentis) is not yet licensed for use in the UK.

'NICE will be in a position to issue guidance to advise on the effectiveness of both drugs after ranibizumab receives its licence, and is currently expecting to issue guidance to the NHS in August 2007.

'Topics for appraisal under the Institute's faster single technology appraisal process are selected by the Department of Health.

'There is no restriction on the prescribing of any drug, within its licensed indications, whilst NICE is developing guidance. In the absence of NICE guidance, local NHS organisations should develop their own prescribing policies.'

Readers' views

This report is shocking in the extreme. How can we continue to put up with a government which is so inept and biased in favour of anyone but the English?

- John, Bradford

Is this anything to do with having so many Scots in positions of power in Blair's government whose main interest is in looking after their own?

- Stratford, Hampshire, England.

We don't get anything, all we do is provide it for everyone else.

- Sue Delaney, Worthing, West Sussex

Lovely post again Blackleaf - showing your racism towards Scots.

Silly buggers the Scots are - taking away valuable medical research and procedures from the English while they sit on their fat arses drinking Tennants and flashing their kilts at unsuspecting tourists ...

I was being sarcastic there (had to state it cos I'm not quite sure you have a sense of humour). I'm sure that these procedures will make their way towards England sometime soon so you can quit your whinging !
Quote: Originally Posted by CanEcosse

Silly buggers the Scots are - taking away valuable medical research and procedures from the English while they sit on their fat arses drinking Tennants and flashing their kilts at unsuspecting tourists ...

You know the Scots better than I do, and I occupy the same landmass.

This "valuable medical research" had nothing to do with the Scots (all that sort of stuff happens at Cambridge and Oxford, the only European universities to feature in the world's Top 10).

What it all boils down to is the money-grabbing, Socialist, welfare-dependant (all just like the French) Scots running England and denying us drugs. This isn't the first time it's happened.

The Scottish lifestyle is decrepit. Scotland has the second-highest murder rate in Europe. England has the second-lowest. If you count the whole of Britain, then Britain is counted as having a high murder rate thanks to the Scots. They are Europe's second-biggest binge drinkers (after the Irish) and they top the European elague for liver disease, lung disease, heart disease and childhood obesity (England ranks low in Europe for childhood obesity).

The sooner England is rid of Scotland, the better.
It doesn't sound like the Scots are denying England the use of these drugs, it sounds like English bodies are doing that. Is NICE run by Scots?

This happens in Canada and the US as well. Some drugs/treatments or equipment approved and paid for in one country aren't approved or paid for in another because of our different drug boards and health boards.
But Canada and the US aren't a part of the same country - and the United States doesn't rule Canada in the same way that Scotland rules England.
OK, then a better analogy would be different provinces in Canada. What is covered or available in Ontario isn't always covered or available in BC. That doesn't mean it's Ontario's fault that BC doesn't provide it to its residents.

Is NICE run by Scots?
Blackleaf you need to come to Scotland to see what life is really like here. They aren't standing in a line against the entrance to your local chemist, denying you access to valuable medical research and drugs now are they ? Get real ! People aren't all on benefits and murdering each other here. I did live in England for a year in a not so nice part of London. There was quite a lot of violence, anti-social behaviour, benefit scroungers, drunkenness and obesity amongst other issues there. I see it on the news every day how anti-social behaviour affects England. This I'm sure isn't seen just in inner-city London ; it happens elsewhere in England. Where are you getting your statistics for diseases and murder rates ? I suggest you look in your own back garden before you decide to slag off the so-called 'money-grubbing, socialist, welfare-dependent' Scots. The internet is a wonderful thing isn't it ? You can slag off an entire nation in the comfort of your own home, yet you do not have the courage to come here and slag a Scot off to his or her face now would you ?
Isn't it because most of the English are all ready blind, but they feel they can still save the sight of the not so blind Scots?
LOl !

There are 'Spec Savers' (lens fitting shop) all across the UK. They save the sight of lots of British people, even the English !
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