Alzheimer’s Research UK has published a report today stating that the NHS could face significant practical and financial challenges in delivering future dementia treatments.
In response to these findings, the charity has announced that it will be leading the Dementia Access Taskforce, which calls on government, the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry to join the taskforce to ensure people with dementia can access future dementia treatments without delay.
There are currently 12 potentially disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s in the final stages of clinical trials.
Alzheimer’s Research UK worked with the London School of Economics to model the impact that five potential future treatments approaches for Alzheimer’s could have on the health system.
A practical and financial challenge
The modelling found that because of the high number of people living with dementia, delivering future treatments is likely to pose a significant practical and financial challenge to the current health system.
For example, even at a price point that would be considered cost-effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the annual overall cost to the NHS of one of the hypothetical treatments is £420m (~€481m) – a third of the total cost of all cardiovascular medicines.
This analysis revealed that current approaches to assess the cost-effectiveness of potential new dementia treatments are unlikely to include their full value.
Every year, dementia costs the UK economy £26bn, with over 80% of this carried by social and informal care.
However, the current approach to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treatments does not take the full savings in those areas into account.
Earlier diagnosis is needed
The modelling also demonstrated that earlier diagnosis is vital to ensure that future treatments are effectively delivered to the right people at the right time.
Alzheimer’s Research UK believes that the Dementia Access Taskforce presents an opportunity to work collaboratively to pave the way for the smooth delivery of future dementia treatments in the NHS. Based on an analysis of the modelling, the charity is making eight recommendations for the taskforce to take forward as initial actions, including:
- Considering innovative funding models to help cover the cost of future treatments;
- Piloting specialist Brain Health Clinics; and
- Working to understand what measures will reflect the true value of Alzheimer’s treatments for individuals and society.
Innovations in new treatments
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “With over one million people expected to be living with dementia in the UK by 2025, we have a duty to ensure that people with dementia and their families can benefit from innovations in new treatments in the coming years.
“While our report highlights a number of challenges that could affect the roll-out of future dementia treatments in the NHS, we believe these challenges can be overcome if we act now and work together.”
She concluded: “Research happening today will bring about the treatments of tomorrow and over 650 researchers from across the globe are in London this week discussing the positive progress being made.
“Right now, there is a window of opportunity to develop an action plan to ensure the health system is able to pay for and deliver future dementia treatments, and to ensure they would reach people with dementia without unnecessary delay.”
Source: Alzheimer’s Research UK