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Thousands to potentially benefit from Roche treatment for sight loss

Faricimab is administered as an eye injection with an interval of up to 16 weeks

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Roche’s faricimab (Vabysmo) as a treatment option for two leading forms of sight loss. Faricimab, an eye injection, is recommended for adults with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic macular oedema (DMO).

Clinical evidence shows the drug is effective in improving vision and reducing vision loss. Faricimab can be administered less frequently than other medicines currently available, allowing for an interval of up to 16 weeks between doses.

The drug was found to be just as effective as the more frequently dosed aflibercept, another eye injection drug used to treat AMD and DMO. Aflibercept is administered every eight weeks.

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 licence just last week.

“We are determined to drive innovations like these into the hands of clinicians to help patients as soon as possible. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in other healthcare organisations to ensure we deliver progressive treatments which balance the best care with value for money, delivering both for individuals and society as a whole.”

Up to 300,000 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 living with diabetic macular oedema.

NICE also found that faricimab is likely to be cost-saving, or have a similar cost, compared with aflibercept, and another injected drug for AMD, ranibizumab. The NICE committee also found it likely to deliver similar health benefits to these drugs.

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of leading sight loss charity the Macular Society, commented: “We are delighted that a new treatment option, which has the potential to maintain vision and help minimise the number of hospital visits, will be made available to patients in England. This will make a real difference to the lives of many people living with this devastating condition.”