World Alzheimer's Month: September 2012
The European Medicines Agency supports World Alzheimer's Month which is taking place throughout September 2012.
World Alzheimer's Month, being held for the first time this year, culminates in World Alzheimer's Day on Friday 21 September. The Month is dedicated to raising awareness of dementia and challenging stigma. In 2012, its theme is 'dementia: living together'.
The Agency plays a key role in the authorisation of medicines to treat dementia. In the European Union (EU), all medicines for the treatment of diseases causing degeneration of the brain and nervous system, including dementia, must be authorised centrally at a European level, rather than in each Member State separately.
The Agency works closely with organisations representing patients with dementia through Alzheimer Europe, an umbrella organisation of 34 national Alzheimer associations from 30 European countries. It also interacts with organisations representing healthcare professionals in the field of dementia, and works with European and international scientific organisations such as the Critical Path Institute.
The Agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued five qualification opinions on biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease that may enable the diagnosis of the disease before patients show signs of dementia.
The CHMP can issue qualification opinions on the acceptability of a specific use of a method, such as the use of a novel methodology or an imaging method, in the context of pharmaceutical research and development. Qualification opinions are based on the assessment of data submitted to the Agency and the recommendation of the Scientific Advice Working Party (SAWP).
The Agency also organises regular events and meetings, many of which cover issues related to dementia, as well as providing guidance for companies developing medicines for the treatment and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses.