Prescribing Advice for GPs

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Lancet calls for NICE support

The Lancet has called for the government to "show vocal support for NICE" (National Institute of health and Clinical Excellence) in a recent editorial [Free registration required]. The BBC has also reported the editorial.

NICE has been criticised recently, in particular by the Alzheimer's Society in relation to the review of the existing guidance for donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine in Alzheimer's disease.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, accused NICE of "blatant cost cutting" by selling the health of hundreds of thousands of patients for £2.50 per day. Putting this figure into a fuller context, treating 100,000 patients for 365 days at £2.50 per day would cost £91 million each year! It may come as no surprise then that in the Alzheimer's Society Annual Review a thank you is extended to Eisai, Lundbeck, Novartis, Pfizer and Shire - the same five companies involved in the production and marketing of the four available drugs for Alzheimer's Disease.

Action: The Lancet editorial highlights a key tension in the NHS, how to provide a universal health system, free at the point of delivery, within the restraints of a limited amount of funding.

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