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Funding Needed For Cost Saving Drugs

25 October 2001

National's Senior Citizens spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott today called on the Government to increase funding for drugs which have been clinically proven to dramatically improve the lives of a significant percentage of Alzheimer's patients.

Evidence presented to today's international Alzheimer's conference being held in Christchurch shows that within a short time of starting treatment with colinsterase inhibitors, memory is improved for 25 percent of patients, the onset of dementia is delayed and the need for residential care and other drugs is reduced.

Dr Scott, a geriatrician until her election to Parliament in 1999, said use of the medication reduced the admission of Alzheimer's patients to residential care. "As a geriatrician I saw how advantageous these drugs were to those patients who could afford to pay for them themselves. "The Government should look at increasing Pharmac funding to make these drugs available to patients. An increased number of patients using these drugs is more cost effective long term and provides a much better quality of life for patients.

Another issue raised at the conference was nursing home care. "It is not good enough for Ruth Dyson to talk to the conference today about the increased standards expected in dementia care.

"Dementia care funding has had no increase for two years. The Government's answer is to set up another committee and develop another strategy. The money should be spent on care not committees," Dr Scott said.


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