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Thursday 20th June 2019

Prostate drug approved by Scotland

14th August 2012

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved the use of a chemotherapy drug to lengthen the lives of men with terminal prostate cancer in Scotland.


The drug abiraterone was previously not available in the country and had been rejected by the SMC on the basis that the £3,000 cost outweighed its health effects.

However the drug's maker Janssen made another submission to have the drug considered and the SMC has made an about turn on its initial decision.

The SMC wrote on its site: "This SMC advice takes account of the benefits of a Patient Access Scheme (PAS) that improves the cost-effectiveness of abiraterone. This SMC advice is contingent upon the continuing availability of the patient access scheme in NHS Scotland."

Martin Price, external affairs director at Janssen UK, said: "We have gone to significant lengths to find a solution that allows eligible patients to be treated routinely on the NHS with this innovative, UK-discovered medicine."

"Janssen are pleased that the SMC has accepted Zytiga (abiraterone) for restricted use within NHS Scotland." 

Cancer charities responded favourably to the SMC's reversal of its original decision.

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive at Cancer Research UK, said they were "delighted" by the move.

"We know abiraterone is an effective drug. Although it's not a cure, it can offer men crucial extra months at the end of their lives, which can feel priceless to them and their loved ones," he added.

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