MSP backs cancer drug

North-east Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes has joined Prostate Cancer UK in renewing its call for the breakthrough prostate cancer drug abiraterone to be made available on the NHS in Scotland.

Mrs McInnes said: “I welcome the news that Prostate Cancer UK’s campaigning for abiraterone has resulted in England, Wales and now Northern Ireland recommending it for use on the NHS. Abiraterone is a breakthrough prostate cancer drug which can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and improve their quality of life.

“This successful treatment was developed in the UK. The current situation should not continue, which is why I back Prostate Cancer UK’s appeal to the Scottish Medicines Consortium to overturn its original decision. The outcome is due to be announced on 13 August.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said: “News that abiraterone has been approved for use in the NHS in England, Wales and now Northern Ireland represents a resounding triumph for the thousands of men with advanced prostate cancer who campaigned long and hard for its availability.

“However our delight for men in these countries is matched only by our dismay that Scotland remains out on a limb as the only country in the UK where men with incurable prostate cancer continue to be denied access to abiraterone on the NHS. The decision simply must be overturned, and we are delighted that Mrs McInnes has joined a growing cross-party coalition of MSPs calling for exactly that outcome.

“The Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) original decision to reject abiraterone on the NHS in March was a bitter blow to hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer north of the border. Prostate Cancer UK will continue to campaign for men to have access to the drugs they need, regardless of where they live in the UK.“

Mr Sharp added that the drug can reduce pain and other symptoms, as well extend life by an average of four months. Prostate Cancer UK has a webpage for those who wish to support the campaign for abiraterone to be made available on the NHS in Scotland: www.prostatecanceruk.org/smc