Anger as NICE limits access to Alzheimer's drugs

Doctors, patients and carers of people with Alzheimer's disease have reacted in anger to this week's decision by NICE to reject their concerns and limit access to drugs to the moderate stages of the disease.

NICE will recommend to the NHS next month that donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine should be considered as options in the treatment of people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease.  

Five separate appeals were lodged in an unprecedented protest involving 9,000 people against initial guidance that the drugs in question were not cost effective for the NHS in England and Wales.  

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, asked: ‘What sort of society have we become when the health of hundreds of thousands are sold to save just £2.50 a day?’  

NICE guidance bans GPs from prescribing memantine, the only licensed drug to treat late-stage symptoms. Memantine is recommended as part of clinical studies for people with moderately-severe to severe Alzheimer’s.  

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