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GPs have supported NICE's decision to delay guidance on the use of some Alzheimer's drugs after the organisation requested more evidence from drug companies.

NICE provoked an uproar in March when a draft technology appraisal recommended NHS doctors should not prescribe donepazil, rivastigmine or galantamine to new patients because they were not cost-effective.

NICE was expected to publish the final draft of its technology appraisal this week but instead it asked drug companies involved in the appraisal for further data on certain groups of patients.

NICE said some responses during the consultation had indicated the drugs 'may be particularly effective for certain groups of people'.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said: 'We need to make the right decision, based on all the relevant

evidence. We think there is more data which could affect our decision and we are ask-ing the drug companies for

access to it.'

Dr Steve Iliffe, a GP in north London and associate director for the national co-ordinating centre for neuro-degenerative diseases and dementia research network, said: 'The important point is that NICE as an organisation is not making the decision, it's deferring it. That's very good news.'

Dr Sohail Butt, North Surrey PCT lead in older people's care and a GP in Ashford, said: 'I would prefer that we get a conclusive answer before we all commit ourselves to prescribing these drugs and I think it's important that we get the advice right.'

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