Enzalutamide, a new life extending prostate cancer drug, may be made available on the NHS. However it may only be made available to men who have not been given the only other available drug for men with advanced prostate cancer who have stopped responding to hormone therapy or chemotherapy. This is according to a draft decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) released today (Tuesday 28 Jan). The decision, which will now enter consultation, will restrict the use of the drug to those men with advanced cancer who have not already had the drug abiraterone.
Prostate Cancer UK is calling on NICE to remove this restriction and the charity is encouraging those affected by prostate cancer to respond to the consultation to ensure NICE hears the views of patients.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK said:
"This blatant U-turn is at best disheartening. Adding this restriction to their draft decision, without any explanation, leaves hundreds of men, who have few treatments anyway, with no hope of accessing enzalutamide. The process has been marked by confusion and a real lack of transparency.
"NICE is playing fast and loose with men with prostate cancer in the advanced stages of the disease who may become resistant to other treatments, and what's worse without saying why.
"We will fight this decision for men. That's what we are here for, but it will not help the men who could be benefiting during this delay. We hope they follow the decision made in Scotland, and allow clinicians to make the decisions about what drugs are best for patients.
"At the end of a weekend where we saw 25,000 people come together in 72 hours as part of our new Men United v Prostate Cancer campaign to show how much they care about leading change around the intolerable inequity around this disease, this shows how out of touch NICE is."