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Nice rejects Alzheimer's drug appeal

11th October 2006

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has rejected an appeal by Alzheimer's disease campaign groups to backtrack on their decision to restrict the use of certain drugs.

From November, the drugs: donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, will no longer be available on the NHS until a patient has 'moderate' Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is a cruel and devastating illness and we realise that today's announcement will be disappointing to people with Alzheimer's and those who treat and care for them," said Nice chief executive, Andrew Dillon.

"But we have to be honest and say that based on all the evidence, including data presented by the drug companies themselves, our experts have concluded that these drugs do not make enough of a difference for us to recommend their use for treating all stages of Alzheimer's disease."

Nice made its decision to withhold the use of certain drugs for those in the early stages of the disease following a review last year.

Campaign groups say that the decision has been made on financial grounds, whereas Nice has argued that there is not enough evidence to support their use for all patients.