Scottish Prostate Cancer Patients Now To Be Treated With Abiraterone

August 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Abiraterone is a drug used to treat prostate cancer that has become advanced. It is often considered a second line of treatment after the patients might have been treated with hormonal therapy.

Abiraterone has shown to extend the lives of patients after four months of administration. In Scotland, recently, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved the administration of this medication through the NHS.

This means that men suffering from this condition can now access the treatment through the National Health Insurance. This move follows the approval of this medication in other parts of UK .Here are more facts on this treatment:

 The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) yesterday approved Abiraterone for use in the NHS north of the Border. Scotland had been the only part of the UK where the drug was not available.

The quango, which decides which drugs are available through the NHS, ruled in March that the drug “significantly improved” the life expectancy of prostate cancer sufferers but its £2.5 million cost “was not considered to offer value for money”

However, Janssen, the drug’s manufacturers, resubmitted its application and this time it was accepted. It is estimated 115 people will be eligible for the treatment in its first year.

A trial involving 1,200 men has shown that on average prostate cancer sufferers taking the drug lived about four months longer.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among Scottish men, affecting 19,000 and causing 800 deaths a year. Cancer charities yesterday welcomed the decision.

Dr Harpel Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, which helped develop the drug, said: “We know abiraterone is an effective drug. Although it’s not a cure, it can offer men crucial extra months at the end of their lives, which can feel priceless to them and their loved ones.

“But it has taken the SMC far too long to come to the right decision and we would urge them to consider a more efficient way of fast tracking resubmissions.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, described the decision as a “victory for common sense” and urged health boards to start prescribing the drug as soon as possible.

The drug costs £2,735 for a 28-day course and £35,551 for a year, but the SMC this time decided that the price was worth the resultant improvement in patients’ life expectancy and quality of life.

It also found there was evidence it could be targeted at a “subgroup” of patients that would benefit, rather than being prescribed to all those suffering from prostate cancer.

The equivalent watchdog approved the abiraterone for use in the English and Welsh NHS in May and the relevant body followed suit in Northern Ireland last month.

The most high – profile recipient was Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al – Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, who was freed by SNP ministers on compassionate grounds in August 2009.

He supposedly had a life expectancy of less than three months but ended up living another two years and nine months before eventually dying in the Libyan capital Tripoli in May this year.

Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Tory health spokesman, said the drug should have been available in Scotland “long before now”.

“It has been an injustice that Scottish men have been the only ones in the UK not to have had access to this,” he added.Source.

Ironically, Abiraterone is the same drug that extended the life of the Lockerbie Bomber against doctors’ prognosis of only t 3 months. Abiraterone can help to save the lives of many men living in Scotland, and who has been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate.

Various researches and clinical studies have revealed the effectiveness of this medication, and the potency of the drug has shown to be more effective than that of other medications. This approval is sure a welcomed development for men with prostate cancer in Scotland.

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