Now campaigners hope it will signal the end of a scandalous NHS postcode lottery that is allowing thousands of people to go blind.
Jubilant pensioners Raymond Liggins, Jean Middleton and Patricia Meadows, who claimed health chiefs acted illegally, are now entitled to the drug Lucentis.
An out-of-court agreement was reached between the manufacturers and the pensioners’ health trust.
Mr Liggins, 76, had to pay £10,000 from his life savings after Warwickshire NHS Primary Care Trust refused to fund his prescription for the drug.
He could not afford further treatment and feared he would not be able to continue acting as a carer for wife Olive, 72, who has suffered a stroke.
Mr Liggins, from Nuneaton in Warwickshire, said: “I’m over the moon – I can’t stop smiling. This result means all the world to me and Olive. It has been one of the most stressful times we have had to go through and we’re so relieved it’s over.
“We can now start making plans for the future. It’s an absolutely fantastic result and wonderful for everyone who didn’t think they had a chance of getting treatment.”
The drug is available on the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but only in parts of England.
The patients all suffer from wet age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of sight loss in Britain. Each year 26,000 people in the UK develop the condition.
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