Today, 5th March 2012, ex-England football star Les Ferdinand, The Sun and The Scottish Sun newspapers have all backed our campaign to make breakthrough prostate cancer drug abiraterone available on the NHS to men who need it throughout the UK.
Abiraterone is a new treatment which can extend and enhance the lives of men in the advanced stages of the disease who have very few options left available to them. In February The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced its draft decision not to recommend abiraterone for routine use on the NHS in England and Wales. It is due to make its final decision in June. The Sun ran a double page article, including a first person piece from Les Ferdinand, who lost his grandfather to the disease, demanding that this 'special pill' be made available to men who need it.
Les said "It is unbelievable to think that men in England and Wales who want this drug could be denied it because those who are meant to be looking after our health and the company that made the drug are squabbling over how much it should cost."
Calling on readers to get behind the campaign he said: "We have a duty to stand up and fight on behalf of these men who feel that the Government has turned its back on them. Isn't it time we gave men who have battled so bravely against prostate cancer a break?"
Meanwhile, north of the border, The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has already announced its final decision not to make the drug available on the NHS in Scotland. The Scottish Sun is backing our campaign to have the SMC revisit and overturn its decision, and ran a similarly themed two page spread highlighting the case of Bob and Margaret Bonthrone from Dollar, longstanding volunteers with the Charity and members of the Forth Valley Prostate Cancer Support Group.
Bob told The Scottish Sun: "I'm astonished that the drug has been turned down by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, and my wife is devastated. After the announcement came through, the look on her face said it all. I'm going through more chemotherapy at the moment, but what do I have to look forward to after that?
"I can't see why a very effective drug that was developed in Scotland can't be used to help the people of Scotland. It doesn't seem excessively expensive."
Read The Sun's full article highlighting the position for the rest of the UK.