Positive Press for Alzheimer's Drug

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

A few days ago, I wrote about some "negative press" for the Alzheimer's drug Namenda, that I felt was misleading.  Basically, it was a series of stories emphasizing that, when used in a way that is not approved, the drug provides little benefit to the patient's health.  What should have been legitimate news about bad prescribing habits, became an illegitimate story about poor drug efficacy.

Now, the press is covering the same drug in a new light.  Based on news from Reuters today, Germany's health care watchdog agency has reversed an earlier stance and now advocates that Namenda has clear health benefits.  They consider the drug to be a cost effective approach to treating moderate and late stage Alzheimer's disease.

The new position from German authorities was based on ongoing review of a growing data set that demonstrates the drug's beneficial effects.  This is reminiscent of the recent news from the UK where authorities changed their stance on the cost benefits of a group of Alzheimer's drugs, including Namenda, and began to cover the cost of their use.

There is no doubt that better treatments, be they drugs or other interventions, are needed in the Alzheimer's field.  But the long debate about efficacy of the current drugs is being clarified through the ongoing collection of evidence that early intervention and proper treatment are beneficial.

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