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Author criticises NHS for refusing Alzheimer's drug

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The author Terry Pratchett has slammed the NHS for forcing people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease to pay for private treatment if they want to take a particular drug.

Aricept has been shown to help delay the progress of the disease, but the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has ruled that the drug is not cost-effective, despite the fact that it is available north of the border.

Mr Pratchett, who has early-onset Alzheimer's disease, criticised the decision, describing it as "an insult".

The author, who now pays privately for Aricept, told the BBC's Panorama programme: "It is a really nasty disease and I cannot imagine cancer patients being denied a drug like this in similar circumstances.

"I feel particularly angry on behalf of early onset patients because it feels like an insult."

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said that Mr Pratchett was right and that the situation was "an absolute disgrace".

"Time and quality of life is being snatched away from thousands of vulnerable people who are unable to pay privately for their own treatment," he remarked.
© Adfero Ltd


Private treatment news : 19/08/2008