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Alzheimer’s drug 'banned by NHS'

28th February 2006

A US medical research team has applauded the qualities of a drug due to be dropped from the list of NHS-approved treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

Their study showed that the drug, Ebixa, enables severely ill sufferers to retain the ability to perform duties like washing and feeding themselves much more effectively than other treatments.

But Ebixa is slated for removal from NHS prescriptions along with three other treatments because of its cost.

the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has deemed the drug – expected to cost around £75 a month – too expensive.

"We are deeply concerned that vulnerable people are being denied access to the only licensed drug treatment for severe dementia because of Nice's draft guidance," said Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer's Society.

Over 750,000 people suffer from dementia in the UK, with 100,000 enduring severe symptoms.

Research into Alzheimer's is attracting more and more funding in the UK, whilst the US is currently conducting a major cross-state two-year study to establish the disease's causes.