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Drugs Watchdog Faces A Judicial Review

The NHS drugs watchdog will be facing a judicial review in court for the first time. Eisai and Pfizer have been permitted a legal review// over the health watchdog's refusal to approve drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.

According to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), people who are either in the early or in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease cannot be treated with medicines on the NHS. But Eisai and Pfizer mark such assumptions of Nice as ‘irrational’.

Last year Nice declined an appeal over its pronouncement that sufferers with early or late-stage Alzheimer's should not have access to Aricept (donepezil), Reminyl galantamine) or Exelon (rivastigmine). Ebixa (memantine) can be used in clinical studies for sufferers with moderate to severe conditions of Alzheimer's disease.

Judicial review regarding Aricept has been granted to Eisai, the licence holder of Aricept, and Pfizer, its co-promotion partner. This was announced by the companies. Reminyl and Exelon will also be reviewed. As per the activists, patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's also should have access to these drugs which cost around £2.50 a day.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society which is also involved in this legal battle feels that denying treatment to people who suffer from this devastating disease in the early stages is cruel and unethical. He also added that their legal team will go on to prove that decision of Nice is fundamentally flawed.

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