Observations Response

Alzheimer's Society replies to Iain Chalmers

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39336.444282.59 (Published 13 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:541
  1. Neil Hunt, chief executive, Alzheimer's Society
  1. nhunt{at}alzheimers.org.uk

    The question of who should have access to Alzheimer's drugs has sparked a heated debate on the way the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) decides whether treatments are cost effective. Sir Iain Chalmers attacked the Alzheimer's Society (BMJ 2007;335:400 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39309.704016.BD) for our legal challenge against the NICE guidance on Alzheimer's drugs. He alleges that we formed an alliance with pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of people affected by dementia and challenges us to be transparent about our commercial relationships.

    I wonder why supposedly informed commentators cannot conceive that our actions might be genuinely informed by the views of our members. Earlier this year, I met with NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins to challenge his apparent view that commercial interests were driving the campaigning agenda of the society. Now another associate of NICE repeats these tired allegations. We are an independent organisation. Funding is a massive challenge for us, of course. But it is a fundamental principle that we speak and act on the basis of our own knowledge—however inconvenient that may be for those …

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