HC Deb 23 January 2003 vol 398 cc469-70W
Mrs. Helen Clark

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the availability through the NHS of drugs to combat Alzheimer's disease. [91415]

Jacqui Smith

The three main drugs available through the national health service for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease are donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon) and galantamine (Reminyl). They are available on the NHS to all who meet the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria and NHS bodies are under a statutory obligation to provide funding.

In addition, memantine (Ebixa) was launched in October 2002. While it is available for prescription on the NHS, NICE has yet to assess it for clinical and cost effectiveness, so for the moment, NHS bodies across the country have to access the publicly available evidence about this new drug and determine local policies for its use.