Will our elderly and vulnerable be respected and given the drug treatment they deserve?
Thousands of patients with early stage Alzheimer's could now benefit from drug treatment following a U-turn by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Presently, doctors are unable to prescribe donepezil, rivastigimine and galantamine to early stage patients to enable them to retain their mental faculties longer.
In 2005, NICE ruled that no Alzheimer sufferer should receive these drugs on the NHS (based on efficacy of treatment and value for money), and they then conceded in 2007 that only patients with moderate disease should receive them.
However, the decision was contested by drug companies and the Alzheimer's Society who queried the 'secret formula' used by NICE to calculate value for money. The case went to the House of Lords and the secret formula was amended after NICE conceded technical inaccuracies. This did not lead to a change in outcome.
Further campaigning by doctors, patients, families and the Alzheimer's Society has led to the new guidelines and recommendations.
NICE has also ruled that a fourth drug Ebixa should be made available for those with severe forms of Alzheimer's and for some with moderate disease.
It does appear to be good news! In fact, brilliant news!
Anna G :o]
PS For those of you who doubt the integrity of drug companies - you might find this interesting which I stumbled across while researching.