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News for week ending 10 May 2002


The Alzheimer's Coalition has the go ahead to start talks with Pharmac regarding key facts related to anti-Alzheimer medications.

A working party of clinical experts and interested parties will also meet with Pharmac within the next month to examine the facts, human elements, and criteria for access to medication.

Karen Hyland, a spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Coalition, said it was a positive step forward. The coalition group represents more than 90,000 New Zealanders.

Anti-Alzheimer medications are capable of temporarily reversing or delaying the progression of Alzheimer's disease according to Auckland geriatrician Dr Phil Wood.

He says clinical evidence suggested that anti-Alzheimer medications reduce the amount of care needed and improve the quality of life for both patients and caregivers.

Around 30 countries including Australia, the UK and France currently subsidise anti-Alzheimer medications.

Karen Hyland says all her group wants is for people to have the opportunity to receive treatment that may delay the progression of the disease.

It is estimated that 17,000 to 21,000 New Zealanders are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. For every person living with the disease, between two and five people are directly affected by the support required.

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