Schizophrenics win NHS drugs battle

More than 200,000 people with schizophrenia could benefit from newer, more expensive drugs after campaigners won a 10-year battle yesterday to end rationing.

In a ruling hailed as a victory for people with severe mental illness, the NHS's drugs advisory body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, said "atypical" antipsychotics should be much more widely available, especially for newly diagnosed schizophrenia.

The newer drugs have fewer side-effects than the older antipsychotics, but because atypicals cost £1,220 per person a year compared with £70 for the older drugs, charities say patients in many areas have been denied the treatment.

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