Intended for healthcare professionals


France removes state funding for dementia drugs

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 30 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6930
  1. Sebastian Walsh, academic public health specialty registrar1,
  2. Elizabeth King, consultant physician2,
  3. Carol Brayne, professor of public health medicine1
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Care of the Elderly Medicine Department, New Cross Hospital, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, UK
  1. Correspondence to: S Walsh sjw261{at}

The first country in Europe to act on concerns over limited effectiveness

In May 2018 the French minister of health announced the delisting of drug treatments for dementia; payments for memantine and the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine would no longer be reimbursed by the state. The decision followed a long campaign by the French therapeutics journal Prescrire, which subsequently declared, “The days are over when support for patients and their struggling caregivers was based on drugs raising false hopes.”1

The following month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published updated dementia guidance.2 This recommended combination therapy for the first time, advised not stopping drugs simply because the condition progressed, and relaxed regulations on primary care prescribing. In short, drugs for dementia would no longer be supported in France but would be further promoted in England and Wales. France is the only European country to take …

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