Life-prolonging treatment rejected

Abiraterone cancer drug
Abiraterone cancer drug

A local cancer support group have slammed the Scottish Medicine Consortium’s (SMCs)decision to reject an important drug treatment.

The Chair of Forth Valley Prostate Cancer Support Group has expressed anger at the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s decision to reject the life-prolonging and enhancing drug, abiraterone, for use on men with incurable prostate cancer who have not yet received chemotherapy.

Abiraterone was approved for routine use in NHS Scotland in August 2012 after chemotherapy treatment.

However the drug is not routinely available to men who have not received chemotherapy, when it has been shown to extend life and delay or avoid the need for chemotherapy and its side effects.

The SMC’s decision means that men with incurable prostate cancer who are unable to undergo, or want to delay chemotherapy cannot now gain routine access to the treatment on NHS Scotland.

Forth Valley Prostate Cancer Support Group say the SMC has ignored emphatic support from clinicians and patients for this treatment.

Prostate Cancer UK also made clear the overwhelming support of patients. Despite this the SMC still rejected the drug.

Commenting on the decision John Selvey, Chairman of Prostate Cancer UK’s support group for Forth Valley, said: “The SMC’s decision to deny abiraterone on the NHS in Scotland is an intolerable blow to hundreds of men with incurable prostate cancer. We are saddened to see that, once again, men are being denied treatment because it’s deemed to be too expensive.

“Men with advanced prostate cancer deserve the right to routinely access a treatment that can delay chemotherapy and its devastating side-effects.

“No man should be told they must endure and survive chemotherapy before they are allowed to routinely access abiraterone.”

Anyone with concerns can contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or via