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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Alzheimer's High Court bid fails

10th August 2007

An attempt through the High Court by campaigners to force the NHS to fund Alzheimer’s drugs in people with early-stage disease has failed.

The court upheld the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that the drugs are only cost effective in the later stages.

But, in the first case where a judicial review has been sought on NICE guidance, the regulatory body was told to rewrite guidance on how Alzheimer’s disease is assessed.

The case was brought to the High Court by drug company Eisai with support from drug manufacturers Pfizer and Shire and the Alzheimer’s Society.

In guidance from November 2006, NICE said the drugs – which cost about £2.50 a day - should only be prescribed to people with moderate-stage disease and did not make enough difference to recommend them for all patients.

The Alzheimer’s Society said it had won one important point: that NICE guidance was unlawful because it discriminated against significant groups of people. But it described the overall ruling “insulting and devastating.? An appeal is being planned.

NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon said: “Our guidance stands and the drugs continue to be recommended only for people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease, but the court has asked us to clarify our guidance when it is used for certain groups.?

Eisai UK described the NICE guidance as “morally reprehensible.?

Harriet Millward, from the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: “We are devastated that these drugs will remain unavailable on the NHS to people with early-stage Alzheimer's when they might benefit from them.?


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