Novel Drug Used on the Lockerbie Bomber Too Expensive for Prostate cancer Patients

May 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

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It’s sad news for those with prostate cancer in the UK. This is because a drug that is to extend the life of patients is way too expensive for the ordinary man. Cabazitaxel is a potent drug like Abiraterone used to fight advanced prostate cancer.

It has been confirmed that this medication was used on Al Meghrahi (the Libyan Lockerbie bomber) who is now 60, and still lives despite prognosis that he had only a few months to live.

The sell and availability of this drug is now a source of concern because those that supposed to fund it are claiming is it well too expensive and cannot be included in the National Health Service (NHS). Here are more details on this development:

 The Libyan terrorist has survived almost three years after a doctor said he had only months to live and he was released on “compassionate” grounds from a Scottish prison.

Al Megrahi, 60, is believed to be taking cabazitaxel to combat his prostate cancer.

But the drugs funding watchdog has decided against allowing its use on the NHS as it claimed the drug only extends life by three months and at £22,000 is too expensive.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) reached the same decision in February about another prostate cancer drug taken by Al Megrahi, abiraterone, as it they said only extends life by four months on average.

Critics say the two new drugs give some patients much longer than three or four extra months and do not cost as much as Nice claims.

The drugs are the only medicines licensed in Britain that are proven to give advanced prostate patients more time.

Professor Jonathan Waxman of Imperial College London said: “The cost argument n which Nice bases their decision is false, giving a much higher estimate of true cost than applies in reality.

“As a result, yet another successful and effective cancer treatment is denied our patients, a mortifying blow to cancer care in England.

“As the only route to access is now the Cancer Drugs Fund, a temporary arrangement that operates very differently around the country, I fear we’re heading towards a re-emergence of the postcode lottery.”

Emma Malcolm, chief executive of the charity Prostate Action, said: “Cabazitaxel is one of only two licensed drugs available in the UK that offers the hope of precious extra time and quality of life benefits to men living with advanced prostate cancer.

“Men with advanced prostate cancer have so few treatment options available to them that they should be able to access both of these new treatments.” Click here to get read the full extract.

This development is sure a sad one considering the fact that many men in the UK are suffering from prostate cancer. Most of these men may not survive from the effects of this scourge in the next few months. It is important that the government of the UK look into this and carve out away of to reduce the price of these drugs and make them more available to patients.

If something is done fast enough then the thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer can be saved from earlier dead. Availability of these licensed drugs to the NHS is one way to save lives of these men. Prostate cancer is a deadly disease; the lives of patients should not be sacrificed on the altar of politics and funding.

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