Charity decides against NICE appeal

The Alzheimer's Society has decided not to appeal against a High Court decision to reject its challenge to a National Institute for Clinical Excellence decision on drug funding.

The charity acted as an ‘interested party’ in the first ever judicial review of a Nice decision. The case was brought in August by drug manufacturer Eisai Pfizer after the watchdog refused to recommend that the NHS should fund dementia drugs for people in early stages of the disease.

The charity has decided to continue by other means its own struggle for the benefits drugs have for carers to be taken into account in Nice judgements, but it is supporting the manufacturer’s continuing legal fight to force Nice to make public the criteria it uses in assessing the efficacy of drugs.

A spokeswoman for the Alzheimer’s Society said advice from lawyers, trustees and members had convinced the charity that its time and resources would be better spent lobbying the health select committee for a broadening of Nice’s remit.

The society’s chief executive, Neil Hunt, said unpaid carers saved the UK £6bn every year in social care costs. He said: “It is only right that the impact treatment can have on a carer’s quality of life, as well as that of the person with dementia, is properly calculated.”

The charity will also be lobbying the Government to introduce an independent appeals process for Nice decisions. The spokeswoman said: “We never wanted to go to court. It is expensive and costly. We wouldn’t have done it if there had been another way.”

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