Limited Availability of AD Drugs in the UK

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK has ruled again that paying for cholinesterase inhibitors (drugs including Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne) is not a cost-effective use of NHS funds. As such, these drugs are essentially unavailable to patients with mild Alzheimer's disease in the UK.

In 2005, NICE made the initial ruling that denied reimbursement for these drugs for mild and moderate stage Alzheimer's patients. After public outcry, the ruling was amended to allow treatment for moderate but not mild stage disease. With a rightly unsatisfied public, the manufacturers of these drugs pushed for a judicial review which has yielded this latest news of NICE standing firm on its past decision.

It is speculated that, with the judicial process complete, NICE will begin a new review of its policy incorporating latest clinical data that may lead to a more aggressive treatment policy going forward.

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