11 October 2006

Bad Decision #1: Alzheimers Drugs

News from the BBC today about the Government's refusal (via it's cost/benefit arm - NICE) to sanction the use of certain drugs in combating Alzheimer's.

I have first-hand experience of this situation, and all I can say is the reaction from one person after finally getting the treatment "I've got my husband back". Sure, it wasn't for a long time, but the benefits were tangible. The costs, at £2.50 a day, are surely trivial compared with the other costs both obvious and hidden? Indeed, subsequent costs such as attendance allowances, were way in excess of this sum. Independence and relief was given for £2.50 a day. My regret is that we didn't search this treatment out much sooner when the benefits could have been greater. Again, I have serious concerns that policy is to avoid for as long as possible producing a rational diagnosis that places costs on the system that does the diagnosis. Getting appointments at so-called "memory clinics" is a far-too-torturous process and allows the disease to progress from mild to moderate before any treatment can be attained.

Contrast this with NHS Breast Enlargement Treatment, or NHS IVF and we have I'm afraid lost sight of our priorities.

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