"out on a limb" as Northern Ireland follows England & Wales in
approving drug for NHS use
UK (formerly The Prostate Cancer Charity) has renewed its call for
the breakthrough prostate cancer drug abiraterone to be made
available on the NHS in Scotland.
It comes on the back of news that Scotland
is now the only country in the UK where the life extending and life
enhancing drug has not been approved for use on the NHS, following
the approval of the drug in Northern Ireland.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate
Cancer UK, said: "News that abiraterone has been approved for use
in the NHS in England, Wales and now Northern Ireland represents a
resounding triumph for the thousands of men with advanced prostate
cancer who campaigned long and hard for its availability. However
our delight for men in these countries is matched only by our
dismay that Scotland remains out on a limb as the only country in
the UK where men with incurable prostate cancer continue to be
routinely denied access to abiraterone on the NHS.
"The Scottish Medicines Consortium's (SMC)
original decision to reject abiraterone on the NHS in March was a
bitter blow to hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer north of
the border. Prostate Cancer UK will not rest until men have access
to the drugs they need, regardless of where they live in the
"Abiraterone can significantly reduce pain
and other symptoms as well as extend life by an average of 4
months. Such outcomes are just as invaluable to men in Scotland as
they are to men in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. When the
SMC announces its revised appraisal of abiraterone in August all
eyes will be on it to ensure this anti-Scottish anomaly is ironed
out once and for all."