Prostate cancer drug rejected by the NHS

3 February 2012

A groundbreaking drug which could advance prostate cancer treatments has been provisionally rejected by the NHS because of high costs.

Developed in a joint effort by the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, the abiraterone acetate drug is said to extend the lives of those with prostate cancer by 15.8 months on average, considerably higher than the 11.2 months of those who are supplied with a placebo.

However, draft guidance by the NHS has claimed that the price of the drug is too much for the amount of benefits that it gives to patients.

Sir Andrew Dillon, chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, admitted he was "disappointed" by the findings but noted that abiraterone acetate "is an expensive drug".

Owen Sharp, chief executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, was not as forgiving though, stating: "Quite simply, abiraterone prolongs the life of men with incurable prostate cancer. The draft decision is a bitter blow to thousands of men and their families and must be overturned."

The NHS will make a final decision on whether to offer the drug to prostate cancer sufferers in England and Wales in the coming months.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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