Looking Forward is the first Patient Support Program designed to help people living with wet age-related macular degeneration, their supporters and physicians. The program is set to help people diagnosed with wet AMD each year to adapt to living with the disease and ensure that they benefit as much as possible from treatment. Wet AMD is a debilitating eye disease that can lead to reduced vision and, if left untreated, blindness.

The ´Looking Forward‘ program comprises of easy to use educational tools and resources and a medical appointment reminder service designed to help people to maintain and improve their vision. Receiving sufficient, regular treatment is a vital but often challenging part of living with wet AMD. The program will be available to all newly diagnosed wet AMD patients receiving Lucentis®, (ranibizumab)

Designed following consultation with patients, supporters and healthcare professionals, the ´Looking Forward‘ program provides the following:
• Easy-to-use self-monitoring tools to assess vision
• Personalized regular appointment reminders
• Printed advice on: living with wet AMD; managing wet AMD on a daily basis and diet and lifestyle
• Information for supporters who play a critical role in the lives of many wet AMD patients

The ´Looking Forward‘ program will also support physicians with resources to improve patient counselling and management to support regular treatment. Physicians will play a key role in enrolling patients in the program.

It is critical that people with wet AMD receive licensed anti-VEGF treatments which have been proven to maintain and improve vision. Patients and their supporters also need assistance and advice to ensure that they benefit as much as possible from treatment. By complementing the advice and support given to patients by their physicians, the ´Looking Forward‘ program will be a valuable tool for the wet AMD patients.

Research shows that well-informed and well-supported patients have improved treatment outcomes1,2,3. This is particularly important for wet AMD patients, whose vision is impaired, reducing their level of independence and increasing their need for support. Further research shows that many wet AMD patients do not benefit from optimal treatment outcomes because they miss or discontinue therapy due to anxieties about treatment procedures, and practical issues, such as organizing transport to attend clinic appointments4. ´Looking Forward‘ has been designed to help patients and their supporters and physicians to overcome these challenges.

Wet AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the world, leaving people unable to do even the most basic everyday tasks, reducing their ability to live their lives independently and increasing their dependence on supporters. Wet AMD affects about 1.7 lakh patients every year in India. With ageing population on the increase, the number of people affected by the eye disease is expected to rise significantly.

The ´Looking Forward‘ program is supported by Novartis, which is the only pharmaceutical company offering this Patient Support Program to meet the information and support needs of wet AMD patients, their care givers and their treating physicians.

Please consult your Doctor for any advice on disease treatment/ product referred in this release.

About Novartis

Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2008, the Group's continuing operations achieved net sales of USD 41.5 billion and net income of USD 8.2 billion. Approximately USD 7.2 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 98,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.