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Home Industry News Johnson, Shire, Novartis and Lundbeck AD drugs

Johnson, Shire, Novartis and Lundbeck AD drugs

22nd December 2005

The UK body which decides which drugs can be available on prescription met on Tuesday to decide whether to ban the use of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) treatments.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) had asked pharmaceutical companies earlier in the year to produce more evidence that anti-cholinesterase drugs were cost-effective. It had said in March that it was considering withdrawing the treatments from use, which do not cure AD but can alleviate symptoms.

A ban would affect the use of Eisai and Pfizer’s Aricept as well as Shire and Johnson & Johnson’s Reminyl, amongst others. New data on the former treatment found that it produces benefits in many patients, but could not say in which groups it was most effective.

According to the Telegraph, Dr Paul Hooper, Eisai’s managing director, said: “The evidence shows they can help a broad range of patients and their cost-effectiveness may have been under-estimated.”

The NICE decision had been attacked by medical groups, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry.

The group said that Alzheimer’s patients and their carers would suffer if the drugs were withdrawn, and also condemned NICE’s approach as “inconsistent and contradictory”.

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