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NICE MISS OPPORTUNITY TO HELP ALZHEIMER'S SUFFERERS - BURSTOW

June 7, 2006 5:28 PM

The latest guidance from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has restricted certain Alzheimer's drugs to sufferers of moderate severity only. Responding to the decision Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton and Cheam, has signed commons motion 1607 which dubs the decisions illogical and unethical and has written to Andy Burnham, the minister in charge of NICE, calling for an urgent review of this decision.

Commenting Paul Burstow said:

"To restrict drugs in this way is not only letting patients down but letting families and carers down too. Prohibiting treatment until a sufferer has deteriorated to a more severe level is wrong and ignores the opinions of doctors, nurses and carers. Alzheimer's patients deserve the same consideration that sufferers of other diseases receive.

"It has been shown that these drugs can significantly help mild sufferers of the disease by postponing the onset of more advanced Alzheimer's. Denying these drugs will greatly reduce the quality of life for patients and their families.

"Severe sufferers will also be denied these drugs leaving strong sedatives as the only option. It seems that cost reduction is now a higher priority than the welfare of sufferers of this disease."