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Access to prostate cancer drug denied

13th March 2012

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has said people who have advanced prostate cancer will not be provided with a life-extending drug by the NHS.

Pound Sign

The drug Abiraterone can extend a patient's lifespan for over three months and costs £3,000 a month.

It has received a provisional rejection in England and Wales, and the SMC said the price of supplying the drug in Scotland was too expensive.

While Abiraterone does not cure prostate cancer it can prolong a patient's life. However, now the drug will only be given to patients in clinical trials or through Individual Patient Treatment Requests.

The Scottish government said NHS boards can arrange to consider SMC "not recommended" medication for patients at a local level in "certain circumstances". 

Cancer Research UK's chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar said: "Abiraterone is an important treatment because patients and doctors value the extra months of life it can give if prostate cancer has come back after chemotherapy."

"We need to find a way for it to be routinely available through the NHS. At the moment it is too expensive and the SMC must find a better way to ensure drugs that are proven to be effective for patients get approved." 

 

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