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'Alzheimer's patients should never have been denied drugs'

'Alzheimer's patients should never have been denied drugs'
22nd January 2008

The Alzheimer's Society has stated that people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease should never have been denied drug treatments.

The announcement was made as a Select Health Committee criticised the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) for denying patients specific drug treatments.

The committee added that the economic evaluations made by Nice did not take into account the wider benefits of the treatments, including the positive effects on carers.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said that the committee's report "confirms that people with Alzheimer's disease should not have been denied access to drugs" and that it is a "victory for common sense".

"We hope the Department of Health will implement the suggested reforms," he continued.

In March 2005 Nice ruled that four drug treatments licensed for Alzheimer's should no longer be available on the NHS as they were not cost effective.

The government body later changed its position and made the drug available-but only to people in the moderate stages of the disease.

It was recently announced that the Alzheimer's Society is intending to challenge Nice's decision in the High Court.

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