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Monday 24th October 2016

Court of Appeal for Alzheimer's drug

6th December 2007

An ongoing row over the funding for a drug treatment for Alzheimer’s disease on the NHS look set to go to the Court of Appeal.


The case was taken to the High Court earlier this year when a manufacturer of one drug challenged a ruling by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) which had concluded the drugs are not cost effective for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

The High Court upheld the decision when drugs company Eisai, which makes the drug Aricept, went to the High Court with support from fellow drugs firms Pfizer and Shire and the Alzheimer’s Society.

It was fighting the decision to restrict access to patients in the later stages of the disease. The legal debate is about whether NICE followed a fair and transparent process in reaching the decision.

NICE guidance in 2001 recommended the drugs, which cost £2.50 a day, should be used as standard but guidance published in November 2006 stated that the drugs should only be prescribed to people with moderate-stage disease.

Executive vice president of Eisai Europe, Dr Paul Hooper, said: “We are delighted that the court has granted us permission to appeal the decision of the High Court which supported NICE’s lack of transparency over the way that cost effectiveness has been calculated.?

The Alzheimer’s Society is not pursuing its legal arguments further in court but said it supports any challenge that could mean people with Alzheimer’s get fairer access to the only drug treatment for the disease.


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