The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has released its final guidance on four Alzheimer’s drugs.
The guidance means the drugs Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl will be available on prescription to people in the early and moderate stages of Alzheimer's and Ebixa will be available to people in the late stages. PCTs must now ensure they are providing funding for the drugs by June 2011.
This final decision was preceded by draft guidance and final draft guidance which both recommended the same outcome. It represents a reversal of the position which was in place since 2007 which limited access to drugs to only people in moderate stages. There was strong condemnation of that guidance from patient and professional groups.
Alzheimer's Society comment:
'It is excellent news that the right decision has finally been set in stone. These drugs can make a real difference to the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people with Alzheimer's. While they don't work for everyone, this guidance means that for the first time, everyone diagnosed with this disease should be given the choice of finding out if the drugs are effective for them.
'It is now vital that all PCTs make the necessary changes to ensure these treatments are available. This will then hopefully encourage more people to go to their GP meaning diagnosis rates will improve and more people will have access to the care and support they so desperately need.'
Head of Policy and Public Affairs