6 May 2010

Alzheimer's drug funded for first time

1:02 pm on 6 May 2010

A "stunning" price reduction will enable Pharmac to fund for the first time a medicine specifically targetting Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, the drug-buying agency says.

Pharmac plans to fund the Donepezil Rex brand of Donepezil, once it's been registered for use by medicines safety regulator Medsafe.

Pharmac says there's evidence the acetylchlorinesterase group of medicines - of which Donepezil is one - slow the progression of Alzheimer's in some patients.

It says the $32 million price tag on these drugs would have crowded out funding for other medicines, but since it has achieved a 95% reduction in price, through competitive tendering, Donepizil will become available without restriction to an estimated 15,000 people.