24 Mar 2016
This article is more than 3 years old

Enzalutamide ‘win’ for men in Scotland

Treatment for advanced prostate cancer approved for use in Scotland for men who have not yet had chemotherapy.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved the advanced prostate cancer drug – enzalutamide – to be prescribed on the NHS in Scotland for men who have not yet had chemotherapy. This drug is available in Scotland for men who have already had chemotherapy, but it was initially rejected by the SMC for use before chemotherapy in August 2015.

This is very important news for many men in Scotland with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, as it provides a crucial additional treatment option, particularly if they are unsuitable for, or do not want, chemotherapy.

It is also a triumph for the hundreds who provided us with their personal views and experiences, enabling us to put a powerful case to the SMC about the benefits of having enzalutamide at an earlier stage.

Earlier use of enzalutamide has recently been made routinely available on the NHS in England and Wales after an initial rejection by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was overturned in December 2015.

Commenting on the announcement, Heather Blake, Director of Support and Influencing at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Today’s announcement is great news for men with advanced prostate cancer in Scotland, and a triumph for all those who helped us challenge the initial decision by feeding in their views.

“The rejection of enzalutamide before chemotherapy is the second drug decision in Scotland that we have had to challenge in the last year alone. Men should not have to constantly fight to get access to new prostate cancer treatments which have such clear clinical benefits. We urge both the SMC and the pharmaceutical industry to get better at delivering new, innovative treatments to patients without unnecessary delays, and to make the most of the opportunity provided by the current SMC review in order to achieve this. Men with incurable prostate cancer have no time to waste.”

We are feeding in our recommendations for SMC reforms as part of its review and are doing all we can to make sure we improve men’s access to new treatments.