NICE decision on osteoporosis drug challenged

The National Osteoporosis Society will appeal a decision by NICE that could leave hundreds of thousands of people without viable treatment options.

A spokesperson on behalf of the bone health charity said it welcomed a change in the final guidelines that has removed age restrictions from access to the drug alendronate.

But it is concerned that there are no mandatory alternatives that primary care organisations should fund for patients where alendronate either does not work or is not well tolerated.

'The final decision by NICE was supposed to cover a whole range of treatments but this has been limited to alendronate, which is unsuitable for up to one in four patients,' said the charity.

'Without mandatory alternative treatments, significant numbers of patients may receive no treatment and consequently risk breaking bones unnecessarily.'

Meanwhile, a High Court decision on access to the three Alzheimer's drugs - donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine - is not due for four to five weeks.

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