Prostate Cancer Drug Ban for NHS To Be Reversed By NICE

May 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Recently, a drug used in the treatment of prostate cancer was declared too expensive to be included in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Thanks to stiff campaigns and intervene by the government, the drug is now set to be made available to patients under the NHS.

Abiraterone is a drug which has shown to extend the life of those treated with advanced prostate cancer was declared too expensive for the National health system by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). This body is considering its initial stand as details on this fact are provided in the following paragraphs.

Abiraterone, which costs £3,000 for a month’s treatment, was at first judged too expensive by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

But following a campaign by charities – and a rare intervention by the Department of Health – the body is poised to announced later this week that the drug will be approved, it was reported.

It will be the first specific treatment for the disease – that strikes 40,000 British men each year – approved for use on the NHS for more than a decade.

Abiraterone is one of two new drugs which have been shown to prolong survival when other treatments have failed with the other, cabazitaxel, denied to NHS patients in a Nice ruling last week.

Tests show men taking abiraterone and a steroid survived for nearly 15 months, while those given steroid treatment and a ‘dummy’ pill lived 11 months on average.

But some receiving the treatment survived much longer than expected, including Britons who have lived for almost five years with advanced disease.

The pill, which is taken four times a day, also eases pain and improves quality of life.

Nice issued draft guidance in February not to approve the treatment, despite complaints that it had not used the correct criteria to assess it.

But days later Simon Reeve, a Department of Health official, wrote to the body asking that it should “carefully consider” if abiraterone met the more lenient ‘end of life’ criteria.

This measure, which is supposed to give weight to the value of a few extra months for terminally ill patients, has now been used by Nice leading it to reverse its decision, according to the Daily Mail.

Around 3,300 men with advanced prostate cancer that has become resistant to standard hormone treatments could benefit from abiraterone each year.

The drug, made by Janssen, was developed by UK scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research and trials were partly funded by UK charities.

Owen Sharp of the Prostate Cancer Charity campaign said MPs and patients had been appalled by the initial decision to ban it for NHS use when it was available in other EU countries.

He told the Mail: “It was the wrong decision. This breakthrough drug will make a real difference to men with prostate cancer at the end of their life who have no alternative – this is the only hope they have.” Source.

This is good news for thousands of men living in Britain with advanced prostate cancer. Many of them are going to benefit from the potency of this drug. As indicated in the above excerpt, those with advanced prostate cancer and have hormone resistant cancer can benefit from this drug.

Its good for health care that NICE is reversing its earlier decision. I still recommend that more efforts should be applied to reduce the cost of this drug further. This will help many more men in the UK and other parts of the world to get treated effectively of their advanced prostate condition.


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