A legal battle over a National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) ruling on new antidementia drugs is to be heard in the Court of Appeal, it has emerged.
Earlier this year, a High Court judge upheld NICE's verdict that Aricept, Reminyl and Exelon are only cost-effective in the later stages of the disease, and as such should not be available on the NHS for early-stage sufferers.
Japanese pharmaceutical firm Eisai and Pfizer brought the judicial review with the backing of the Alzheimer's Society.
The charity believes that treating people with early symptoms can slow the disease's progression.
But now the Court of Appeal has granted the companies permission to appeal against the process by which Nice "reached its decision to ban antidementia medicines for NHS patients with newly diagnosed mild Alzheimer's disease".
Dr Paul Hooper, executive vice-president of Eisai Europe Ltd, said: "We are delighted that the court has granted us permission to appeal the decision of the High Court, which supported NICE's lack of transparency over the way that cost effectiveness has been calculated."
But NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon said the continuing court battle will divert energy and taxpayers' money away from the organisation's core work.