Pfizer Inc, Eisai Co. Ltd, charity organizations, The Alzheimer's Society, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Age Concern will appeal have lodged an appeal on Friday against a British watchdog's decision to restrict access to Alzheimer's drugs.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) declared earlier that the drugs were flawed. NICE recommended that Aricept and other similar drugs that could help but not cure patients with Alzheimer's disease, should now be prescribed on the state health service for only a minority of people with the degenerative brain disease.
The decision is considered a partial climb down, since NICE, which regulates the cost-effectiveness of treatments had initially suggested that these anti-cholinesterase drugs were not worth the money for any patients. It is reported that the guidance would kick into effect by July, and it would mean that Aricept, and other common drugs, Exelon, Reminyl and Ebixa would only be prescribed for patients with Alzheimer's disease of moderate severity.
Olivier Brandicourt, Managing Director of Pfizer UK, said that this proposal by NICE was quite contrary to all good clinical practice. He explained that this would mean people around the world would be feel that England is not giving hope to patients with Alzheimer's disease at an early stage, who many a times are alone in the world.
Pfizer and its marketing partner Eisai state in their argue in their appeal that NICE failed has failed to act in accordance with their own appraisal procedure, and they state that it has prepared guidance which was bad in the light of the evidence and that it is exceeding its powers.
It was explained that governments around the world, would now have to weigh the benefits of modern medicines against their price, because of the NICE deliberations. It was explained that the drugs cost around 1,000 pounds ($1,800) per patient a year. Alzheimer's is a growing problem around the world. Teams of international researchers have recently predicted that the number of people suffering from dementia would increase to twice the number every 20 years and could probably reach more than 81 million worldwide by 2040.