Last week the NHS again wasted circa £640 on me, for no reason.
I was having another injection of Lucentis for my macular degeneration problem. These injections are applied directly into the eye to prevent blindness. And, as usual, I asked the staff at St Richard’s if I could please be treated with the much cheaper drug, Avastin.
But again I was told that this drug was not yet licensed by the FDA – the American Food and Drug Administration – and doctors and medical staff in the UK were not allowed to use it, even if requested by patients.
Having done some research on this topic, I found that both drugs were found to be equally effective for preventing blindness, as has been discussed and confirmed by many studies and international ophthalmic conferences.
Avastin is widely used by eye specialists in other European countries, and doctors have no doubt about its effectiveness while saving their countries millions.
The cost of one injection of Avastin is about £60 or less, compared to Lucentis at £700! St. Richards is doing circa 100 injections of Lucentis every week, wasting approximately £200,000 every month of NHS money.
Although these figures are staggering, they apply to only one hospital; multiplied and added up for the whole of the UK, the final amount would be hundreds of millions.
I have spoken to doctors and staff at the eye clinic, and although they are aware they have their hands tied.
Obviously the demand for change must now come from the ground, and I hope that other patients with this condition speak up and demand a common sense decision, so that colossal sums of taxpayers’ money are not wasted any longer.
Edith Rogerson, St Pauls Road, Chichester