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UK's NICE Backs Novartis Eye Drug, Reversing Earlier Guidance

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10/05/2012 | 01:16am CEST

By Marta Falconi

ZURICH--The U.K.'s health costs watchdog has reversed earlier guidance and now recommends eye drug Lucentis for a new use, after its maker Novartis AG (>> Novartis AG) offered a better price.

The U.K's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, recommends the drug for certain patients who suffer from visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema, the regulator said Friday. Without discount, Lucentis costs 742.17 pounds ($1,195) per injection and is given monthly, NICE said.

The new draft guidance is now up for consultation.

NICE decides if particular treatments should be used on the state-run National Health Service. The watchdog had previously rejected Lucentis for diabetic macular oedema, a condition caused by fluid collecting in the central part of the retina, which leads to blurred central vision and other problems.

The drug is already recommended to treat wet age-related macular degeneration.

Novartis said it was pleased with NICE's decision, but lamented the watchdog's move to restrict Lucentis to only those patients with more thickened retinas.

"This has undervalued the benefits that Lucentis provides to all patients with visual impairment due to diabetic macular oedema," the company said.

The Swiss company said it will continue to work with NICE and other health authorities until final draft guidance is issued by early 2013.

Lucentis, which generated nearly 2.05 billion Swiss francs ($2.19 billion) in sales in 2011, was co-developed by Novartis and Swiss rival Roche Holding AG (ROG.VX). Novartis markets the medicine outside the U.S.

Write to Marta Falconi at [email protected]

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stocks mentioned in the article : Novartis AG
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
NOVARTIS 1.01% 74.02 Delayed Quote.-8.25%
ROCHE HOLDING LTD. 2.56% 216.45 Delayed Quote.-14.38%
ROCHE HOLDING LTD. 2.33% 186.98 Delayed Quote.-13.35%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 52 590 M
EBIT 2018 13 229 M
Net income 2018 10 415 M
Debt 2018 13 548 M
Yield 2018 4,03%
P/E ratio 2018 15,27
P/E ratio 2019 18,11
EV / Sales 2018 3,85x
EV / Sales 2019 3,70x
Capitalization 189 B
Duration : Period :
Novartis Technical Analysis Chart | NOVN | CH0012005267 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends NOVARTIS
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 28
Average target price 90,1 $
Spread / Average Target 22%
EPS Revisions
Vasant Narasimhan Chief Executive Officer
Hans Jörg Reinhardt Independent Non-Executive Chairman
Harry Werner Kirsch Chief Financial Officer
John Tsai Chief Medical Officer
Srikant Madhav Datar Independent Non-Executive Director
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