The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has opened the NHS door again to Bayer HealthCare’s Eylea (aflibercept) for another potentially blinding eye condition.

In final guidance published this morning, the Institute is recommending Elyea as an option for visual impairment due to macular oedema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). 

It has been estimated that, for every 100,000 population, around 17 people aged 40 years or over will require treatment for macular oedema secondary to CRVO each year. 

Including a confidential discount offered by Bayer, NICE noted that the incremental cost of Eylea was estimated to be £12,300 per QALY gained compared with dexamethasone and that, even in the worst case scenario, the cost fell within the range that would normally be considered a cost-effective use of NHS resources.

Eylea was also recommended by NICE for for the treatment of wet age related macular degeneration (wAMD) in July last year, and was also accepted for use in Scotland, where cost regulators are currently assessing the drug in the CVRO indication.

Meanwhile, the Institute has published a new Local Government Briefing designed to help local authorities encourage people to attend NHS Health Checks and support them in making changes to boost their health.

The screening programme is aimed at 40-74 year olds and is designed to gage a person's risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, with subsequent tailored support to help prevent the condition.

Saving lives?

According to Public Health England, checking blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle in this age group could root out problems at an earlier stage and potentially prevent 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 diagnoses of diabetes a year.

But there is also strong opposition to the scheme.

A group of Danish researchers published a letter in The Times last year claiming the checks are not only not cost-effective but could also end up doing more harm than good, and slammed the government for pushing ahead with the scheme despite a lack of evidence to prove its benefit.

Their analysis of data involving more than 182,000 patients found that such health checks appeared to have no impact on either the number of overall deaths or those from cancer or heart disease.

GPs have also previously voiced concern that the programme is pulling swathes of people into surgeries who have nothing wrong with them, a significant issue given that, as PharmaTimes World News reported yesterday, it is being warned that as many as 34 million patients seeking treatment may be unable to get an appointment to see their GP this year.