Published on 13/03/2012
Prostate cancer sufferers in Scotland are to be denied prostate cancer drug Abiraterone because it has been deemed too expensive for use on their NHS.
Abiraterone is a licensed treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer that has come back after chemotherapy. There are no other treatment options for men at this stage, but the drug costs £3,000 for a month’s supply.
The drug has been found to extend the lives of prostate cancer patients by an average of four months, but it has been linked to the prolonged life of the bomber Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi who outlived his 3 month prognosis by more than 2 years.
But the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) ruled that it would not be accepted for use on the NHS, because the “balance of costs and benefits meant the medicine was not considered to offer value for money”.
Cancer charities have called the decision ‘unjust’ and ‘shameful’.
NICE has already passed a draft ruling that the drug is too expensive for use on the NHS in England and Wales. Until a final decision is made, patients in England will only be able to access Abiraterone through the Cancer Drugs Fund or private medical insurance.
In Wales, the drug has been approved by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group for routine use until the final decision is made by NICE. Owen Sharp, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “In very simple terms, this drug allows men to spend precious extra time with family and loved ones.
“It is unjust that the SMC has made this decision – especially after a closed process that denies these men even the opportunity to have a voice or to appeal."
The inaccessibility of Abiraterone on the NHS emphasises how important private medical insurance can be. With private medical insurance you have access to drugs and treatments even if they aren’t available on the NHS, so compare health insurance quotes online now.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals