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Prostate cancer drug deemed 'too expensive'

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Health chiefs in Scotland, England and Wales have said they will not back a drug that is said to help prostrate cancer suffers live longer because it is too expensive.

The abiraterone drug has helped Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, outlive his three-month life expectancy by over two years - but NHS Scotland said it will not support the general usage of it.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) said: “SMC did not accept abiraterone for use in NHS Scotland because the balance of costs and benefits meant the medicine was not considered to offer value for money.”

Health officials from England and Wales have also announced similar approaches to the drug.

Chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, Owen Sharp, blasted the decision and said it is a “cruel swipe” to men dying from prostrate cancer as a study has revealed the drug could extend lives by up to 12 weeks.

He said: “In very simple terms this drug allows men to spend precious extra time with family and loved ones.

“Those in charge of making these decisions - including the drug company - seem to be focused only on the price of a drug rather than its value or the needs of men.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • George Kuchanny

    This drug costs around £3,000 a month apparently. So that is a average of £9,000 assuming a 12 week extension of life.

    On the other hand we have Abdelbaset al-Megrahi who would have cost a putative seventy two grand in drug bill alone.

    One option, in view of the NICE guideline is for families to raise the starting ten grand by flogging the car or extending the mortgage to have dad around for another 3 months I suppose. It depends on priorities in the end. Personally I would raise the dosh by whatever means.

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