Up to 1,000 patients a year could go blind as NHS drops treatment

Funding revoked for vital drugs for third most common cause of blindness.

  • Uveitis is the third most common cause of preventable blindness in the UK
  • NHS has revoked funding despite clear clinical evidence and medical support
  • Up to 1,000 patients a year could go blind as a result of this decision
  • Patients will have to self-fund £10,000 a year to save their sight
  • England is the only country in the developed world not funding drugs which are freely available in Scotland and Wales.

Olivia’s Vision, (Charity Number 1138599) the UK’s leading Uveitis charity and patient support group, has today officially launched its campaign to make NHS England reverse its decision of 2 July 2015, to remove funding for Infliximab and Adalimumab, both Anti-TNF treatment options for adults and children with severe refractory Uveitis.

Uveitis is a term used to describe inflammation inside the eye and is the third largest cause of avoidable blindness in the UK. Uveitis accounts for up 10% of blindness in the UK and 20% of these patients will have sight threatening disease requiring systemic therapy including the now withdrawn drugs Infliximab and Adalimumab.

In January 2015, as a result of strong scientific evidence the use of Infliximab and Adalimumab was finally approved by NHS England to those patients with sight threatening Uveitis.

This decision was the culmination of many years of lobbying by all of the leading Uveitis specialists in the UK and patients and support groups. The approval document had a review date of April 2016. However on 2nd July 2015 in the face of overwhelming positive clinical evidence the funding for the drug was removed leaving thousands of people without the very drug which can prevent blindness, many of whom are children.

Olivia’s Vision will not stand by and watch people go blind purely as a result of this decision. Please sign this petition, and share the link, to help reverse their policy.

Nick Davis, trustee of Olivia’s Vision, said:

We on behalf of all Uveitis sufferers in the UK are devastated by this decision by NHS England to withdraw funding and watch people go blind unnecessarily.

There is no clinical reason for the withdrawal of these drugs as their efficacy is proven. England is now the only country in the developed world not to fund this sight saving treatment. We have had many calls on our helpline from desperate patients who need these drugs, but now face the prospect of going blind. We intend to do all we can to reverse this decision. I cannot sleep at night knowing people are going blind due to what we fear are purely financial not clinical decisions. We set up Olivia’s Vision when our nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Uveitis. She has been on Humira for 2 years and without it she would now be blind.

How can I tell the parents of the next nine year old who contacts us needing Humira that unless they can self-fund £10,000 a year their child will go blind because NHS England will not fund the drug needed to save her sight.

For further information and interview opportunities please contact:

Nick Davis Trustee Olivia’s Vision on
07885 368 342 or Nicola Davis on 07958 387 475

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