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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Appeal victory for dementia drug

1st May 2008

Three Appeal Court judges have criticised the way an NHS regulatory and advisory body reached decisions over the availability of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.

Old Hands

They ruled that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) should have been more transparent in moves to limit drugs like Aricept only to people with late stage disease.

Drug maker Eisai challenged NICE’s refusal to release the information. Despite this, the drugs will remain limited because the court did not overturn NICE’s position after the body decided that the drugs were not cost-effective in the early stages of disease.

NICE guidance from November 2006 stated that the drugs – which cost £2.50 a day - should only be prescribed to people with moderate-stage disease.

Eisai had wanted to examine the detail of how the decision was reached and the court accepted that withholding this information did put drug companies at a “significant disadvantage? in challenging the NICE ruling.

Eisai will now be able to assess NICE’s cost-benefit analysis, which could lead to it having to review the decision.

Nick Burgin, managing director of Eisai, said the Appeal Court decision was a “victory for common sense? and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said decision would allow greater scrutiny of how NICE worked.

However, Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Neil Hunt felt the decision was a damning indictment of the “fundamentally flawed process? used by NICE.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, warned that the ruling could increase the complexity of our drug appraisals, which may take longer as a result.


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