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Home Industry News Shire ‘disappointed’ with NICE Alzheimer’s ruling

Shire ‘disappointed’ with NICE Alzheimer’s ruling

13th August 2007

Shire has expressed its dissatisfaction with National Institute of Clinical Health and Excellence (NICE) guidelines relating to the treatment of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, despite their recent revision.

The firm notes that according to the guidance, the majority of patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease will not be able to receive treatment for their condition on the NHS until their disease has progressed to a more severe form.

In court, Judge Linda Dobbs did however decide that NICE acted unlawfully in relation to the potential discrimination against patients with language or learning difficulties arising from its treatment guidance.

Dr Ian Howe, medical director of Shire, said: “It is a tragedy for the majority of patients in the early stages of the disease and their carers as treatment at this critical time can stabilise the patient and slow the rate of decline.”

He added that treatment at this early stage with the relevant drugs is recognised by NICE to be clinically effective, giving patients a degree of normality for a longer period.

Dr Howe claimed that the judgement will result in a “two-tier health system”, divided between patients able to pay for treatment and those that cannot.

In May 2007, Shire expressed its agreement with the three grounds for the judicial review on the issue: procedural fairness, irrationality of assumptions and discrimination against patient groups.

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