Just in from the Beeb …

  • by: |
  • 03/27/2007
Drugs watchdog faces legal review

The NHS drugs watchdog is to face a judicial review in court for the first time over the guidance it offers.

Two firms have been granted the review over the way the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence reached its conclusion on Alzheimer's drugs.

NICE ruled NHS patients with newly diagnosed, mild Alzheimer's disease should not be prescribed the drugs.

Eisai and Pfizer said the process was unfair, but NICE said the claims were without foundation.

NICE guidance in 2001 recommended donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine - which can make it easier to carry out everyday tasks - should be used as standard.

But in November the watchdog announced people with newly diagnosed, mild Alzheimer's were exempt.

Campaigners have repeatedly argued patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's should also have access to the £2.50-per-day drugs.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, which will give evidence in the case, said: "Denying people in the early stages of this debilitating disease access to drug treatments is cruel and unethical.

Why should we care about how the Brits choose care for Alzheimer’s patients Over There? Because their “evidence-based” model is being touted by many Over Here as the right path.

Consider what’s happening Down Under where a similar (although by no means identical) system is also used to limit available treatment for Australians who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. The particulars are different – but the message is the same: when government acts to limit therapeutic choices, patients suffer the consequences.

Australia limits coverage of Alzheimer’s medicines to six months of treatment unless the patient shows “significant improvement.” In the US, the decision to continue treatment is based on patient (and care-giver) satisfaction – which includes maintenance of current mental status and prevention of mental decline – quite a difference from “significant improvement.”

Restrictive formularies (yes, like the VA system) and health care systems (such as in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere) that deny access to the right drug for the right patient at the right time but pay for more expensive and invasive procedures later on have their priorities upside down.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

Blog Roll

Alliance for Patient Access Alternative Health Practice
Better Health
Biotech Blog
CA Medicine man
Cafe Pharma
Campaign for Modern Medicines
Carlat Psychiatry Blog
Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look
Conservative's Forum
Club For Growth
Diabetes Mine
Disruptive Women
Doctors For Patient Care
Dr. Gov
Drug Channels
DTC Perspectives
Envisioning 2.0
FDA Law Blog
Fierce Pharma
Fresh Air Fund
Furious Seasons
Gel Health News
Hands Off My Health
Health Business Blog
Health Care BS
Health Care for All
Healthy Skepticism
Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma
Hugh Hewitt
In the Pipeline
In Vivo
Internet Drug News
Jaz'd Healthcare
Jaz'd Pharmaceutical Industry
Jim Edwards' NRx
Kaus Files
Laffer Health Care Report
Little Green Footballs
Med Buzz
Media Research Center
More than Medicine
National Review
Neuroethics & Law
Nurses For Reform
Nurses For Reform Blog
Opinion Journal
Orange Book
Peter Rost
Pharm Aid
Pharma Blog Review
Pharma Blogsphere
Pharma Marketing Blog
Pharmacology Corner
Pharmaceutical Business Review
Piper Report
Prescription for a Cure
Public Plan Facts
Real Clear Politics
Shark Report
Shearlings Got Plowed
Taking Back America
Terra Sigillata
The Cycle
The Catalyst
The Lonely Conservative
Town Hall
Washington Monthly
World of DTC Marketing
WSJ Health Blog