England Faces Potential Denial of Revolutionary Dementia Drugs to Masses

England Faces Potential Denial of Revolutionary Dementia Drugs to Masses

London (Parliament News) – England may face a shortage of revolutionary dementia drugs as NHS diagnostic capacity lags, potentially denying access to hundreds of thousands.

The NHS in England has a diagnostic capability lagging behind every other G7 country, reports say, which means hundreds of thousands of dementia patients cannot get access to groundbreaking new medications.

After decades of study to find a treatment for the disease projected to impact 153 million people worldwide by 2050, scientists have successfully designed the first treatments to tackle the underlying reasons rather than only reduce the symptoms. Two new drugs could obtain the green light for usage on the NHS within weeks. However, their efficacy depends on the fast and early diagnosis of patients.

The report, acquired by the Guardian, says the NHS lacks the diagnostic capacity to accurately determine those eligible in time.

England’s Diagnostic Capacity Lags for Dementia

The analysis indicates England is improvised for the rollout of new treatments, with “large gaps in diagnostic capacity” for dementia. It also cautions of a £14bn funding black hole that must be filled if England is to diagnose dementia as fast as the other G7 countries, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

To be qualified for either of the new drugs, lecanemab and donanemab, patients have to be in the early phases of dementia and have had scans to ensure high levels of amyloid in their brains. However, the report states England has the lowest per capita number of PET scanners of any G7 country and the most inferior number of MRI scanners. England also owns the second-lowest number of dementia specialists required to diagnose the condition, such as neurologists, old age psychiatrists and geriatricians.

The analysis was created by experts from organisations including Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Disease International and the Alzheimer’s Society.

In a second analysis, an NHS briefing paper calculates that as many as 280,000 patients in England may be suitable for the new treatments if regulators suggest the drugs for use in the health service. However, if the medicines are approved, the NHS would be impromptu for their delivery, the first report says.

“The potential approval of the first of the disease-modifying AD [Alzheimer’s disease] treatments in the UK as early as 2024, and the possibility of subsequent availability in England, shines a light on the stark gap in the diagnostic infrastructure needed to provide high-quality dementia care,” it states.

“While future detection and diagnostic technologies might qualify for lowering investment levels in later years compared to our predictions, the progressive nature of AD means that prolonged wait times would deny numerous patients of the opportunity to receive a treatment while it will still be effective.”

PET and MRI Scanner Deficits in England

The most contemporary NHS figures indicate fewer than two-thirds of people with dementia (64.5%) have a proper diagnosis – below the government’s target of 67%. People in England remain on average up to two years to acquire a diagnosis, and up to four years if under 65.

For the report, the authors approximated data and statistics for England with that of the six other nations in the G7. The report discovered England had the lowest number of PET scanners per 1 million people, at 1.20. Canada has 1.52, Germany has 1.63, France has 2.48, Italy has 3.55, Japan has 4.70, and the US has 5.45.

UK also holds the lowest number of MRI scanners per 1 million people (6.31), while Canada has 10.06, France has 15.38, Italy possesses 30.22, Germany has 34.47, the United States has 40.44, and Japan has 55.21.

When it comes to dementia experts, England also manages badly, with 5.04 per 100,000 people, according to the information. Only Canada has a poorer record (4.94). France has 6.46, the United States has 8.82, Japan has 11.08, and Italy holds 15.58. Germany has almost five times as many as the UK (24.02).

Massimiliano  Verde

Massimiliano Verde is a journalist at Parliament News, He is covering Society and Culture News. Boasting a Master's Degree in Political Science, stands as a prominent figure in the Italian cultural landscape. His presidency of the Neapolitan Academy, a scientifically and sociolinguistically renowned group, attests to his relentless dedication to safeguarding and promoting Neapolitan language and culture. His activism and profound expertise have propelled him into the role of interlocutor for UNESCO as part of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), a prestigious acknowledgment highlighting the significance of his efforts in preserving the linguistic and cultural diversity of our planet.

Verde's fervent passion for the history and culture of Southern Italy has driven him to immerse himself in research, resulting in numerous essays and articles that delve into the peculiarities and beauties of the region. His commitment extends beyond academia, manifesting in ongoing dissemination activities aimed at acquainting the general public with the rich cultural heritage of the South. His endeavors transcend national boundaries, as evidenced by his participation in international conferences and collaboration with various foreign institutions, rendering him an ambassador of Southern culture on the global stage and fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.