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One GP's fight to preserve core values

NICE is battling to retain its credibility with GPs after coming under intense political pressure to backtrack on its decision to rule against four Alzheimer's treatments.

Health minister Dr Stephen Ladyman this week challenged NICE's decision on the drugs, insisting it had not looked at all the evidence and had failed to take into account the wider social implications.

But Professor Alan Maynard, one of the institute's architects, told Pulse: 'If it gave in to this pressure it would undermine the whole way NICE works.' Professor Maynard, professor of health economics at the University of York, warned NICE had been set up to make difficult rationing decisions and the NHS 'can't fund everything'.

Patient groups and psychiatrists are united against the provisional decision to rule out the use of donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine, but NICE insisted it has not been instructed to reverse its decision. GP prescribing experts doubted whether NICE could remain independent from political influence.

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