24 Apr 2012
In - Policy

Abiraterone is a new drug which can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer which has stopped responding to other available treatments.

Unfortunately, The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published a draft decision not to recommend abiraterone for use in England and Wales. A final decision is expected in June 2012.  The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) published their decision in March not to recommend abiraterone for use on the NHS in Scotland.

Both bodies have recognised the clinical effectiveness of abiraterone, but feel it is too expensive. 

The decisions by NICE and the SMC are a bitter blow to thousands of men and their families. Abiraterone is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of prostate cancer for many years. It offers men the possibility of extending their lives at a time when there are no other available treatment options, except those that just control the symptoms of the disease, such as pain and discomfort.

The manufacturer (Janssen) has now offered abiraterone at a reduced cost to the NHS in England and Wales and has resubmitted an application to the SMC, with the reduced price. The SMC's decision is expected in August 2012.

You can help us try to reverse these decisions and make abiraterone available to the men who need it by writing to your MP. Please visit www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/abiraterone to email your MP now.

We've also been working to try to change these decisions by: 

  • Holding a briefing for MPs, Peers and the media on these issues in Westminster Parliament to get their support for our campaign.
  • Working directly with MSPs in Holyrood, to make them aware of the issue.
  • Sending Freedom of Information requests to the Cancer Drugs Funds in England to get information about men's current access to abiraterone. (Most men in England should be able to access abiraterone through these regional funds before NICE's final decision).
  • Writing to Janssen to ask them to do more to make abiraterone affordable for the NHS.

For more information, please see www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/abiraterone or email campaigns@prostate-cancer.org.uk




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