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Alzheimer's suffers miss out on funding

Dr Lynda Scott National Associate Health Spokesperson

12 December 2001

Alzheimer's suffers miss out on funding

"The PHARMAC budget for the next three years needs to be increased, so it can fund Alzheimer's drugs", said Dr Lynda Scott, National's Senior Citizens Spokesperson.

"PHARMAC says it cannot fund the new Alzheimer's drugs because it has to remain within its very tight budget. The Minister of Health needs to tell older New Zealanders whether she will be increasing the funding to PHARMAC in this new funding round.

"I give my support to Aged Concern, Alzheimer's Society, Grey Power and other groups who advocate on behalf of older New Zealanders, and who are calling for anticholinesterase inhibitors to be funded.

"Older New Zealanders should not miss out on these medications that are now available to treat Alzheimer's dementia. This is the only medical treatment available and these drugs have been shown to delay the progress of this terrible disease.

"It is unfair that New Zealanders can't receive these drugs when Australian and British patients can.

Evidence continues to mount showing these drugs can delay admission to rest home care and improve the functional ability of patients with this disease.

Dr Scott said most older New Zealanders could not afford to pay for the drugs. "This is just another case of the Government ignoring the rights of older members of the community's to appropriate care.

"Some of the money announced for health this week must go to PHARMAC so that they can buy these Alzheimer's drugs and make them available to New Zealanders," Dr Scott said.

Ends


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