Department queries institute’s stance

Campaigners hoping to reverse a proposal to withdraw four
Alzheimer’s drugs from the NHS received a boost last week.

Plans by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice)
to withdraw its backing for the drugs had provoked an outcry from
professionals and older people’s groups.

The Department of Health’s submission to Nice’s consultation
echoes many of the campaigners’ concerns. It questions whether Nice
has compared the costs and benefits of the drugs with non-drug
interventions for cognition, behaviour, activity of daily living
and carer burden.

It also asks what weight has been placed on how patients value
the drugs, and whether Nice would consider including the effects on
carer time in its analysis. The latter is unusual since Nice
usually only considers costs to the NHS.

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