SMC approves eye protection drug

 The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the use of an ocular drug to protect diabetic patients against macular oedema (MO) after cataract surgery.

Nevanac (nepafenac), an eye drop medication from Alcon, is the only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) licensed in the UK for this indication.

The approval follows a clinical trial in more than 200 diabetic patients that showed the drug’s effectiveness (in combination with a steroid) in reducing the risk of MO and maintaining visual acuity.

In addition, Alcon submitted health economic analysis stating a cost improvement per quality adjusted life year (QALY) of £4,181 for Nevanac plus steroid compared with the steroid alone.

People with diabetes are at highest risk of developing MO, which causes visual impairment, following cataract surgery.

Roger Lopez, General Manager of Alcon UK, commented: “MO is difficult to treat, requiring additional eye care for a prolonged time, which can lead to increased healthcare costs.”

Based in Texas, Alcon is a leading global eye care company and the second largest division of the Novartis Group.