Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Pressure On For Anti-Alzheimer Drug Funding

October 24, 2001


A strong call to pressure Government to subsidise anti-Alzheimer’s medication in New Zealand came from a symposium on Alzheimer’s Disease held in Christchurch today.

Lack of access to anti-Alzheimer’s medication in New Zealand was described as ‘appalling’ by visiting speaker, Dr Gerard Byrne, Psychiatry Department Head at the University of Queensland.

Two anti-Alzheimer’s medications are subsidised in Australia with a third to be available from November this year.

Access to anti-Alzheimer’s drugs in New Zealand has not been treated with the same equity given to non-curative drugs for other conditions such as cancer, Dr Byrne says.

There are huge advantages associated with the drugs, which in some cases can delay the progression of the disease for up to three years, he says.

While he spelt out the economic savings associated with ant-Alzheimer’s medications, Dr Byrne said other stronger factors had to be considered.

“A few extra years of improved quality of life is priceless not only to the person taking the medication, but to family members as well.’

The cost of medical care is relatively small at around $260 a month per patient compared with the huge cost of care, Dr Byrne says.

Alzheimers New Zealand National Director, Elizabeth Chesterman, told the symposium, the organisation was finding an increasing number of people with dementia and their families speaking out on the difficulties they faced in obtaining and funding the medication they required.

Alzheimers New Zealand wrote to PHARMAC earlier this year in support of cholinesterase inhibitors being placed on the subsidised Pharmaceutical Schedule.

“To date, we have received no reply,” Elizabeth Chesterman said.

Medical specialists at the symposium spoke of being unable to communicate with PHARMAC and a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Health of Older people, Dr Margaret Guthrie, said the agency worked in isolation and did not consult with medical specialists involved.

Auckland based Consultant in Psychiatry of Old Age, Dr Gavin Pilkington, said it was time to ‘get politically smart’.

“There are currently around 34,000 people in New Zealand suffering from Alzheimer’s. Their families members would be triple that number. We have to enlist their support to make this a political issue. “

Many national Alzheimers organisations have supported the subsidised pharmaceutical industry with considerable success in demanding a better deal for dementia patients, Elisabeth Chesterman says.

“Treatment gave many people extra and precious time together. That is all Alzheimers New Zealand asks – the opportunity for New Zealanders with mild to moderate dementia to be offered treatment that may delay the onset of the disease to give them quality time.

“It is unfair that so many are being denied that opportunity.”

An Ashburton woman, whose parents both have Alzheimer’s and a Whangarei couple coping daily with the disease, brought the human aspect of Alzheimers to the symposium by sharing their experiences.


Ends

Released on behalf of Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists - The Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age and Alzheimers New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Paymark: Lockdown Equals Slowdown For Some

The three days of lockdown for Auckland earlier this month made a clear impression on our retail spending figures. While only Auckland moved into Level 3 lockdown, the impact was felt across the country, albeit at different levels. Looking at the ... More>>

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>

Sci-Tech: Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars – Expert Reaction

NASA has landed a car-sized rover on the red planet to search for signs of past life. The vehicle has more instruments than the four rovers preceding it, and it’s also carrying gear that could help pave the way for human exploration of Mars. The ... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: Quarterly Economic Forecast Predicts OCR Hike As Early As August 2022

Predictions of interest rate rises have been brought forward 12 months in ASB’s latest Quarterly Economic Forecast. Chief Economist Nick Tuffley now expects the RBNZ to begin raising the OCR from its current level of 0.25% as early as August ... More>>

ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>

OECD: Unemployment Rate Stable At 6.9% In December 2020, 1.7 Percentage Points Higher Than In February 2020

The OECD area unemployment rate was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market. [1] In December, the unemployment rate was also stable ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As Employment Picks Up

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in the December 2020 quarter, from 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Last quarter’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent followed the largest increase observed ... More>>