Background

The present paper constitutes the position of Alzheimer Europe and its national member organisations on the availability of anti-dementia drugs and their reimbursement under national health systems.

This position reflects the current state of the art with regard to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer Europe may revise this position as new scientific information becomes available.

Executive Summary

Alzheimer Europe recognises that not all patients will benefit from the available treatments, but believes that patients should have the opportunity to try these drugs which should be made available to them under national health systems for the following reasons:

  • Enough clinical evidence exists to support the use of anti-dementia drugs since clinical trials have shown them to be effective not only in improving memory, but also for beneficial effects on behaviour and activities of daily living.
  • This clinical data on the effectiveness of anti-dementia drugs is supported by testimonies of great numbers of people with dementia and their carers.
  • Cost-effectiveness models fail to duly take into account effects on quality of life of carers of people with Alzheimer's disease.
  • The existence of anti-dementia drugs has contributed to the development of dementia care through an expansion of memory clinics and other specialised services offering early diagnosis, advice and support for people with dementia and their carers.
  • The discontinued prescription of anti-dementia drugs would take away one of the main reasons for people coming forward for an early diagnosis of their condition who would therefore no longer benefit from other significant advantages of an early diagnosis.
  • European citizens should have equal rights to protection and access to health care regardless of their country of residence.

Alzheimer Europe is therefore convinced that governments and regulators should not further restrict the access to anti-dementia drugs. Treatment should be offered as one part of a care package taking into account the various needs of people with dementia and their carers and anti-dementia drugs should be made available under national reimbursement systems for people with Alzheimer's disease in all Member States of the European Union. Doctors should be encouraged to discuss the likely benefits and side effects with people with Alzheimer's disease and their carers in a realistic way without raising false hopes.

The full position paper can be downloaded below.