MSP urges rethink over breakthrough cancer drug

North-east Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes has signed a parliamentary motion calling on the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to reconsider its decision not to recommend breakthrough prostate cancer drug abiraterone for use on the NHS in Scotland.

Abiraterone is a ground-breaking new treatment that can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer. It also improves their quality of life by significantly reducing pain and other symptoms. The drug has been recommended for use on the NHS in England and Wales. However the SMC has rejected it for routine use on the NHS in Scotland.

Mrs McInnes said: “Abiraterone is a once-in-a-generation breakthrough prostate cancer drug. When effective, men who were previously bed-ridden on high doses of morphine have told the Prostate Cancer Charity that they can come off pain relief altogether and recommence a more normal day-to-day routine during the final months of their life.

“Abiraterone is recommended for use on the NHS in England and Wales, but not in Scotland. It seems ridiculous that such a successful treatment that was developed in the UK is available but is being denied to men in Scotland when they need it most. This is why I am urging the Scottish Medicines Consortium to reconsider its decision.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “The SMC’s cruel and unjust decision to deny abiraterone on the NHS in Scotland is a bitter blow to hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer. The decision simply must be overturned, and we are delighted that Alison McInnes has joined a growing cross party coalition of MSPs calling for exactly that outcome. The SMC has no time to waste in changing this decision as, for the men who desperately need this treatment, time is very much of the essence.”