Prostate cancer drug plea

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland with more than 2,800 new diagnoses every year.

In March the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) decided that the prostate cancer drug abiraterone should not be funded by the NHS.

The drug is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease for many years It can prolong the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer by an average of four months, as well as improving quality of life by reducing pain and other symptoms when the only other treatment options are palliative.

As the chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, Owen Sharp, has said, the decision to reject abiraterone is “a cruel swipe at hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer”.

There is still hope: abiraterone’s maker has re-submitted itfor SMC approval at a reduced price.

The Prostate Cancer Charity has set up a function on its website to help people email their MSPs to highlight this issue and to urge them to take action. I would encourage your readers to visit www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/SMC and follow the simple steps.

II would urge all local MSPs to write to the health secretary advising that if the SMC does not recommend abiraterone, men in Scotland will not be able to access a vital drug which is widely available to men in England and Wale.

People could also write to the SMC calling on it to recommend abiraterone for the NHS in Scotland and sign parliamentary motion S4M-02704: SMC Rejection of Prostate Cancer Drug, Abiraterone

Men in Scotland with incurable prostate cancer need access to abiraterone. With the help of your readers, they can get it.

Andrew Wood

Borders Prostate Cancer Support Group,

Coldstream