CHESHIRE County Council is calling for drugs which slow down Alzheimer’s disease progression to be available to older people who are in the early stages of the condition.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) says the NHS should not prescribe the inhibitor drugs to anyone in this category.
The county council will be writing to all Cheshire MPs calling for them to seek a review of that decision.
Letters will also be sent to Western Cheshire and Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trusts.
The issue was raised by county councillor Eveleigh Moore-Dutton in a notice of motion which came before Friday’s community executive for decision.
She said: “The overriding benefit of these drugs is it allows Alzheimer’s sufferers to live with independence and dignity.
“I have looked carefully into this subject and have spoken to families and to older people who believe that drugs costing £2.50 a day could make a huge difference to their lives.
“The county council is supporting the campaign to have the rules changed.
“At the moment, we have a situation where the NHS has a relatively small saving in its budget because the drugs are not prescribed, whilst at the other end of the scale the county council has, at a huge cost, to fund care earlier than would be needed if the drugs were administered.
“In addition to this, a terrible human price is paid by sufferers and the families who care for them.
“Allowing the drugs to be given in the early stages of the disease would show compassion and cost-effectiveness.”
A report before county councillors stated drugs such as Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl “have the effect of reducing or stabilising the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, with consequent beneficial effects for the affected people and their carers”.
Executive member for adult social services Lynn Hardwick said: “In Cheshire, it is estimated that the number of people over 85 will rise between 2005 and 2021 by 63% from 14,000 to 23,000. On this projection, 2,852 people are likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.”