28 Feb 2012

Charity comments on draft decision by NICE not to recommend life-extending treatment

The Prostate Cancer Charity comments on draft guidance issued today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which proposes that they will not recommend abiraterone - a life extending treatment for men in the final stages of prostate cancer - to be made available on the NHS in England and Wales.

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, explains: "Quite simply, abiraterone prolongs the life of men with incurable prostate cancer. This draft decision is a bitter blow to thousands of men and their families - and must be overturned. The drug is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease for many years, and it will be devastating if this drug remains out of their reach when they need it the most.

"Abiraterone can increase the amount of time a man with advanced prostate cancer has left to live by an average of about four months and in a very human currency, this may give him the chance to walk his daughter down the aisle or see the birth of a grandchild.

"Sadly, this draft decision sends yet another clear message to men that investing in treatments for prostate cancer is simply not a priority for the NHS. Men, running out of time and often desperately trying to access this drug, are currently being forced into a postcode lottery, where decisions on whether they are given a further chance at life are made based on where they live in the UK. This cannot continue and it is imperative that NICE urgently reconsider their draft decision."

NICE's decision on abiraterone isn't final.  Visit our website to find out how you can feed your comments into NICE's consultation on this draft guidance.