Cancer Drug still not available to the Kingdom

Cancer drug Abiraterone is still not available to prostate cancer sufferers in the Kingdom despite being approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in August.

Claire Baker, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, had previously written to NHS Fife for an update on the availability of abiraterone. Their reply stated that as part of the South East Scotland Cancer Network (SCAN) they will be “bound by the decision taken by NHS Lothian on behalf of the Cancer Network”.

It is reported that abiraterone can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and was previously available only in England and Wales.

Yet after lobbying by groups such as Prostate Cancer UK and MSPs including Claire Baker the drug, having previously been rejected, was finally approved for use in Scotland.

The drug will be available only to men with advanced prostate cancer who are no longer responding to docetaxel or hormone therapies.

Claire Baker, speaking from Kirkcaldy, commented:

“The first step has been taken with the approval of abiraterone by the SMC but now we need to make sure that the drug is being offered by local NHS boards for those that qualify.

“I wrote to NHS Fife to ask for an update in the process of making abiraterone available as it is important that doctors have the full range of treatments at their disposal when dealing with a patient.

“The drug was approved in August yet sufferers in Fife cannot get access to the treatment until it is signed off by NHS Lothian. This decision has still not been taken and I will be writing to NHS Lothian to call on them to now take the decision.

“Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer and it was a black dot on our National Health Service that this treatment was available in England and Wales but not Scotland. Thankfully that has since been rectified and it should be available in Fife.”

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