15 Mar 2012
In - Policy

Dear Sir,

March is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  In a few weeks time NICE will meet to discuss the responses to their draft decision not to recommend abiraterone, a life extending drug for men with incurable prostate cancer.

This British discovery is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of men with advanced prostate cancer for years and it will be a very bitter disappointment if abiraterone remains off limits to those men who need it most.  

Historically, prostate cancer has suffered from a legacy of neglect and in recent years very little progress has been made in the treatment of the advanced stages of the disease.  New treatments, like abiraterone, are critical in helping to turn this situation around - but they have to make it to the men who need them.

Undoubtedly, in this time of austerity NICE has some hard decisions to make.  However, if they fail to recommend abiraterone, men across England and Wales will face a postcode lottery when they try to access this important treatment. 

We hope that NICE, and the drug's manufacturer, lead the way forward in the UK by putting the patient first and agreeing a fair price and value for abiraterone.  We also believe NICE should class abiraterone as an end-of-life drugso it is fairly assessed under the same criteria as end-of-life drugs for other cancers.

Only by overturning this questionable decision can we ensure men with advanced prostate cancer have fair access to effective, life prolonging treatment.

Yours sincerely

Owen Sharp
Chief Executive

The Prostate Cancer Charity

Professor David Neal
Professor of Surgical Oncology,
Hon Consultant Urological Surgeon

University of Cambridge

Harpal Kumar
Chief Executive

Cancer Research UK


Professor Nicholas James
Professor of Clinical Oncology
Co-Director Research and Development (Cancer)

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT

Ciarán Devane
Chief Executive

Macmillan Cancer Support

Lucinda Poulton


Professor Jonathan Waxman
Professor of Oncology

Hammersmith Hospital

Alison Lowndes
Chair of the Section of Oncology


Emma Malcolm
Chief Executive

Prostate Action

Sandy Tindale-Biscoe
Hon Chairman

Prostate Cancer Support Federation

Peter Baker
Chief Executive

Men's Health Forum

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