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Charity welcomes drug court appeal

A charity has welcomed a decision to allow an appeal over a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) ruling on antidementia drugs.

The Alzheimer's Society backed a court case earlier this year against NICE's decision to limit Aricept, Reminyl and Exelon to late-stage sufferers of the disease.

But a High Court judge upheld NICE's decision, in what was the first ever judicial review brought against the regulator.

However, the Court of Appeal has now granted drug firms Eisai and Pfizer permission to appeal against the process by which NICE "reached its decision to ban antidementia medicines for NHS patients with newly diagnosed mild Alzheimer's disease".

The companies said they are protesting "on the point of procedural fairness based on NICE's repeated refusal to disclose a working version of the cost-effectiveness model they used to determine the value of treatment in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease".

An Alzheimer's Society spokesman said: "We are pleased to hear the appeal against the NICE judicial review verdict has been given the go ahead.

"While the Alzheimer's Society is not pursuing its legal arguments further in court, we support any challenge that could mean people with Alzheimer's get fairer access to the only drug treatment for the disease."

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