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NICE to reverse its decision on prostate cancer drug abiraterone

Published on 14/05/2012

It has been reported that the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is reconsidering its ban on late-stage prostate cancer drug abiraterone.

The outlook for prostate cancer is generally good, because it usually progresses very slowly. However, if the cancer spreads from the prostate to other parts of the body, it cannot be cured, and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.

Currently, there are only two drugs licensed in Britain that are proven to given advanced prostate cancer patients more time: cabazitaxel and abiraterone.

Just last week, prostate cancer drug cabazitaxel was turned down for use on the NHS by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

And abiraterone, which costs £3,000 for a month's treatment, was judged to be too expensive by NICE in a draft decision made in February.

But following a campaign by charities and a rare intervention by the Department of Health, the body is set to make a dramatic turnaround.

It has been reported in the Daily Mail that NICE will announce the approval of abiraterone later in the week.

Tests show men taking abiraterone and a steroid survived for nearly 15 months, compared to 11 months on average. But some receiving the treatment survived much longer than expected, including Brits who have lived for almost five years with advanced disease.

The pill, which is taken four times a day, also eases pain and improves quality of life.

Currently abiraterone is only available through the government Cancer Drugs Fund and or to customers with private medical insurance. If NICE approve the drug then doctors will be able to prescribe it to NHS patients as well.

If you want to guarantee access to licensed cancer treatment, whether or not it is approved by NICE, compare health insurance policies with full cancer cover.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Medical
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