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Drugs ban will hit quality of life

PUBLISHED: 17:57 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:39 23 August 2010

JG4825-03	
26-06-07	
Gravesend	
Alan Putt & his wife Beryl Putt who has Alzheimers

JG4825-03 26-06-07 Gravesend Alan Putt & his wife Beryl Putt who has Alzheimers

NEARLY 100,000 Alzheimer sufferers a year will be refused drugs that could delay the onset of the disease, the Court of Appeal has heard. The manufacturer of the drug Aricept is fighting a decision made by the government s medicines watchdog which ruled

NEARLY 100,000 Alzheimer sufferers a year will be refused drugs that could delay the onset of the disease, the Court of Appeal has heard.

The manufacturer of the drug Aricept is fighting a decision made by the government's medicines watchdog which ruled it was not cost effective in the early stages.

This decision was backed by the High Court in August last year but on Monday drug manufacturer Eisai, supported by other drug companies, launched an appeal against this decision.

David Pannick, QC, representing Eisai told the panel of appeal judges that when the decision takes full effect it will have a "substantial effect upon the availability of the drugs."

He added: "The evidence suggests that annually 96,600 patients with mild Alzheimers disease will be refused treatment.

In August last year sufferers spoke to the Kentish Times about their concerns that the drug was not more widely available.

Alan Putt, 70, from Hartley, said Aricept had made an improvement to his wife Beryl, 69, in her ability to do tasks.

He said: "The drug made a dramatic improvement to her standard of life and I believe it should be used as soon as possible.

"Beryl's memory has improved greatly and simple tasks that she found hard to do before taking the drug she can now do.

"Aricept has shown in many cases an improved ability to think, remember and interact socially, which is true.

"It is disgraceful that other people are not being given the chance to take this drug."

Enid Gould, 73, from Shorne, whose husband has taken Aricept since he was first diagnosed, also supports the greater use of the drug.

He said: "It's a disgrace because it does not cost a lot of money.

"Having been prescribed the drug we had five good years that we probably would not have had.

Alzheimers disease, which progressively leads to loss of memory, confusion and an inability to complete simple tasks affects about 400,000 people in Britain. There is no known cure.

Government medicines watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Exce-llence (NICE), said Aricept, which costs £2.50 was not cost effective for those in the early stages of the disease, and should only be used in patients whose conditions had deteriorated.

A spokesperson for NICE said: "We consider their claim without foundation and going back to court will require us to divert energy and taxpayers' money from the work we do to support patients and health professionals."

The appeal was due to finish on Tuesday but a decision will not be made until next month.

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