Evusheld is a medication which offers further protection to people at higher risk from Covid-19 and is being considered as a preventative treatment for those who do not have the same response to vaccination as others. It was authorised in March by the Medicines Health Research Agency, which has produced a lay summary about how it works and its effectiveness. For the past five months, there has not been a clear answer about whether the drug will be procured. We do not think that this decision is the right thing to do and we are urging the government to think again.
The drug is already being used in 32 countries around the world and we recently signed a joint letter with 18 other charities to ask for its consideration. This is supported by a consensus statement from 125 clinicians across 17 specialities.
On 5 September we received a reply from the Health Secretary providing more detail around the Government's decision not to procure Evusheld. While the response is detailed, we remain disappointed and continue to advocate for access to targeted preventative treatments for people at greatest risk from Covid-19.
Many questions remain unanswered and we continue to challenge this decision, individually and with our partners. We will be asking the Department of Health and Social Care officials to meet with us as a matter of urgency.
There are 500,000 immunosuppressed people in the UK, including kidney patients, who’ve been waiting for this decision. We realise that many of you will be upset to hear this news and our support services are there for you.
A Government spokesperson has said:
“Following a robust review of the available data, our clinical experts advise there is currently insufficient data on the duration of protection offered by Evusheld in relation to the Omicron variant and the government will not be procuring any doses at this time.
“We are determined to support the most vulnerable as we live with Covid-19 and immunocompromised patients are a priority for other treatments, access to free tests and vaccination.
“We continue to explore the market for promising treatments that could prevent infection, to add to the antibody and antiviral treatments that are already offered on the NHS. We remain in close touch with all relevant parties.”
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, said:
"We are very disappointed to hear that Evusheld will not be considered for people who are not well protected by the vaccine. A lack of transparency and communication has left many unable to understand the process taken to reach this decision. You have told us that you are heartbroken and angry after waiting so many months to hear whether this licensed treatment will be made available.
We all want to move on and ‘live with Covid-19’ and it is not unreasonable to ask for tools so that those who remain at risk are able to do so as well. More than 1 in 10 (13%) of people previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable were still shielding in May and from what kidney patients are telling us, it’s unlikely that this number has fallen in recent months.
Despite vaccination and anti-viral treatments, data shows that the immunosuppressed group remain the most at risk of dying from Covid-19, and while infections remain high, it is clear that urgent action is needed, especially for people who feel forgotten while the rest of the country returns to normal. The pandemic is far from over for kidney patients. We need action now before the winter months ahead.”
The National Institute for Health and Social care is currently running a consultation on Evusheld, but this will not offer any further guidance until April 2023. Kidney Care UK has contributed to the NICE consultation on behalf of the kidney community.
Share your thoughts on Evusheld with politicians
If you are interested in the Evusheld treatment, please write to your MP and tell them to attend a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on 12 October at 11am. Explain to them why this debate is of interest to kidney patients and ask them to take part. Please copy us into your correspondence with your MP at [email protected].
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