People with Alzheimer’s still waiting for affordable treatment
People with Alzheimer’s disease are currently denied the right to accessible and affordable anti-Alzheimer’s
medications, which can delay the progression of this form of dementia. These drugs are not subsidised and cost from $200
to $250 a month. The lack of government funding for dementia treatment means greater health inequalities are being
created between the wealthy and the poor because access to treatment depends on one’s ability to pay.
Last year Pharmac agreed to consider a way of making the drugs available to at least some patients as there are
currently no subsidised pharmaceuticals for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, but there has been no action to
Today Pharmac announced a $50 million increase in its annual funding from the government budget. Pharmac also underspent
by $24million in 2002.
“ We need these medications subsidised without further delay” said Karen Hyland, Director of Alzheimers New Zealand.
“Many younger people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. With the ability to diagnose earlier there is a
responsibility to ensure that treatment to minimise the effect of the disease can be accessed,” said Karen Hyland.
“Precious time with families can be lengthened and admissions to rest homes can be delayed with these medications, so it
is unbelievable that this treatment is not given any health funding priority”, said Karen Hyland.
“In recent years early diagnosis techniques have been advanced. But what is the point of being able to diagnose early if
the treatment remains unavailable. We must ensure that everyone with Alzheimer’s disease can access these medications”.
“All Alzheimers New Zealand asks is that people with Alzheimer’s disease are afforded the same respect and priority that
others with medical diseases are. We must ensure that people can sort out their lives before they can no longer do so by
buying time with these medications. Families who are already trying to cope with the high cost of this disease are at a
huge disadvantage,” said Karen Hyland.