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Calls for increased availability of Alzheimer's drugs

5th April 2006

A leading consultant has claimed that a wider range of drugs for the treatment Alzheimer's and dementia should be made more readily available in the UK.

Dr Cornelius Kelly, a consultant in old age psychiatry at the Central and North West London Mental Health Trust, believes that a number of potentially beneficial drugs such as Donepezil, Galantamine and Rivastigmine are being held back by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for financial reasons.

Dr Kelly told the ITV's Lunchtime News that although it was right to have a discussion about funding for the NHS, elderly patients should not be "victimised in the process".

The chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Neil Hunt, told the same programme: "I understand what NICE is trying to do which is obviously to make sure the NHS spends its budget properly, but this flies in the face of thousands of our members who are saying these drugs really make a difference."

He added that the drugs are not expensive and that there are few alternative treatments available.