Alzheimer's drug ban may end; Judges say advice group acted unfairly.Byline: Stephen Howard Stephen Howard may refer to:
PLANS to restrict some Alzheimer's drugs on the NHS NHS
National Health Service
NHS (in Britain) National Health Service are to be reviewed after a landmark Court of Appeal ruling.
Three judges found that the process by which the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) decided to restrict the anti-dementia medicines for newly diagnosed patients with mild Alzheimer's was procedurally unfair.
Eisai Ltd, licence holder of Aricept, and Pfizer Ltd, which challenged the Nice decision, said the ruling brought renewed hope for Alzheimer's patients.
The judges said fairness demanded Nice should release a full version of the cost-effectiveness model it used to frame guidance on treatment. They invited Nice to give new advice after the drugs groups have studied the guidance model.
Eisai managing director Nick Burgin said: "We hope that this action will ultimately restore access to anti-dementia medicines for those patients at the mild stages of Alzheimer's disease Alzheimer's disease (ăls`hī'mərz, ôls–), degenerative disease of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex that leads to atrophy of the brain and senile dementia. ."
Pfizer managing director John Young said: "Contrary to Nice's position that they follow a fully fair and transparent process, the Court of Appeal found that this is not the case." Nice had ruled the drugs are not cost-effective for patients in early stages of Alzheimer's - a decision upheld by the High Court last year.
Nice decided in 2004 the pounds 2.50-a-day drugs did not make enough difference to recommend them for all patients. It refused an Eisai request for full details.
Nice chief Andrew Dillon said: "We will be considering very carefully the findings and the implications for the time it takes us to provide advice to patients and the NHS on the use of new treatments."
He added: "The decisions Nice makes are amongst the most difficult in public life. We have worked very hard to ensure our decision-making process is as robust and transparent as possible."
THE ruling was "a damning indictment of the fundamentally flawed flaw 1
1. An imperfection, often concealed, that impairs soundness: a flaw in the crystal that caused it to shatter. See Synonyms at blemish.
2. process used by Nice to deny people with Alzheimer's disease access to drug treatments," said Alzheimer's Society chief executive Neil Hunt.
"Time and quality of life has been snatched away from thousands of vulnerable people who learned they have this devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. disease this year.
"One in three people who live past the age of 65 will die with dementia. For the price of a cup of coffee a day these treatments can improve their lives and the lives of their families."