Alzheimer’s Research UK has reacted with concern after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved proposals to change the way cost-effective treatments are introduced on the NHS.
As part of the changes, a new ‘budget impact test’ will be imposed after 1 April 2017. Under this measure, any new treatment costing the NHS more than £20m a year should trigger a negotiation over the way the treatment is funded – with NHS England able to apply to delay introduction if these negotiations are not successful.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Alzheimer’s Research UK has significant concerns that this measure could mean delays for people with dementia accessing future treatments. There is a huge unmet need and with so many people likely to benefit from any new dementia drugs, it is very possible that such treatments may cost more than £20m a year. We recognise the funding pressures that currently exist for the NHS, but we believe the budget impact test is not the right tool to fix this complex challenge. In line with the ambition of the Accelerated Access Review, the introduction of new treatments must be better supported by early discussion between NHS England and companies to find solutions over funding.
“We are encouraged to see that NHS England will be required to consider the possible impact on patients – it’s been over a decade since the last dementia treatment was introduced in the UK, and people cannot afford further delays when the next breakthrough is made. We estimate that a new treatment to delay the onset of dementia by five years would mean 469,000 fewer people living with dementia by 2030, with 399,000 fewer informal carers and savings to the economy of £14.1bn a year. Research is making strides towards new treatments for dementia, but for this progress to have a meaningful impact for people, we must ensure such treatments can reach the people who need them.”