Abiraterone, a drug that extends the life of prostate cancer sufferers, has been provisionally rejected for use on the NHS. However, it will still be available to patients with private medical insurance.
More than 10,000 die of prostate cancer in the UK each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in men.
Abiraterone has been turned down for use on the NHS
Abiraterone is one of the few drugs available to men in the final stages of prostate cancer. It can extend their life by more than 3 months, and kept bomber Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi alive for two years longer than predicted.
The drug costs just under £3,000 for one month’s supply but has been offered at an undisclosed discounted price to the NHS.
However, draft guidance from NICE says the drug’s benefits are not enough to justify the pay for use in England and Wales.
The chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), Sir Andrew Dillon, said the drug was effective, and one of its key benefits was that it could be taken orally in the patient's own home.
"We are therefore disappointed not to be able to recommend it for use on the NHS, however it is an expensive drug," Sir Andrew added.
Until final guidelines are issued by the health regulator, decisions can continue to be made locally about the use of abiraterone. Cancer charities have been angered by the decision.
But patients with private medical insurance WILL be covered on their policy for use of abiraterone.
Full cancer cover with insurers like Aviva, Bupa and PruHealth will cover you for treatment like Abiraterone, despite being deemed too expensive for use on the NHS.
Abiraterone is not the only drug that NICE has turned down. Avastin, successful at treating ovarian cancer and brain cancer, is not available for use on the NHS. However, patients with private medical cover will have access to it in the future.
Compare health insurance online now to get covered for use of these lifesaving drugs.
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