Alzheimer’s drug appeal rejected

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has been condemned for rejecting appeals against its decision to restrict NHS access to four Alzheimer’s drugs.

Nice will now issue final guidance to the NHS that donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine should not be prescribed for people with early or severe Alzheimer’s, but reserved for those in the moderate stages of the condition.

The other drug, memantine, will be recommended for clinical studies only.

Charities and drugs companies had brought five appeals against Nice’s initial decision.

Help the Aged’s senior policy manager, Jonathan Ellis, said: “The government says it is committed to improving care for older people, but Nice is blocking access to treatment which would help them retain their independence and dignity.

“This is botched policymaking at its worst.”

But Nice chief executive Andrew Dillon said: “Based on all the evidence, 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.”

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