The first UK High Court challenge of a decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will begin on June 25, as Eisai challenges what it has referred to as an unfair and irrational decision on treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

The judicial review follows a two-year battle over whether people in the early stages of Alzheimer's should have access to the only effective drugs to treat the debilitating illness on the NHS, such as Eisai and Pfizer’s Aricept (donepezil). The drugs cost just £2.50 a day.

Commenting on the announcement of the trial date, Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society (which is acting as an interested party in the judicial review), says it “brings us a step closer in our fight for justice for people with Alzheimer's disease.“ He added that 100,000 people will develop dementia this year alone, “yet NICE has ignored the impact its decision will have on them and their families' lives. NICE's process in this case was fatally flawed, and we look forward to challenging it in court.”