Prostate cancer drug 'will not be widely available on the NHS'

A life-extending prostate cancer drug will not be widely available on the NHS, it has been announced.

In final draft guidance reassessing the use of the drug in the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said that abiraterone will continue to only be available to suffers in England after they have undergone chemotherapy.

There is clear evidence that taking the drug before chemotherapy is beneficial for patients, according to The Institute of Cancer Research.

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Manufacturer 'disappointed' by Nice cancer drug ruling

The company behind a life-extending prostate cancer drug said they are "disappointed" by the decision not to extend its availability in NHS England.

Abiraterone will continue to be available only to those who have already undergone chemotherapy, Nice, the health service financial watchdog, ruled.

Dr Peter Barnes, medical director at Janssen, who manufacture the drug, said the decision will leave suffers no option but to accept chemotherapy "they may not necessarily need or want yet."

Nice said the drug is "not cost effective at its current price."

We are very disappointed with this decision which, if it stands, will leave thousands of men in England in the advanced stages of prostate cancer with no option but to accept chemotherapy - which they may not necessarily need or want yet - before being eligible to receive abiraterone routinely on the NHS.

These men will eventually be able to receive abiraterone on the NHS after chemotherapy anyway, but will be denied the option of taking it earlier on in their illness.

– Dr Peter Barnes

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Prostate cancer drug decision 'a fiasco'

The decision by the NHS financial watchdog Nice not to offer a life-extending prostate cancer drug to sufferers in England until after they have undergone chemotherapy is "a fiasco", a leading charity said.

Prostate Cancer UK's chief executive Owen Sharp said that the ruling robs patients of the chance to delay chemotherapy and its severe side effects.

It's a fiasco. This decision is a kick in the teeth for men with advanced prostate cancer. For many this presented a vital opportunity for extra time with loved ones and a chance to delay chemotherapy and the debilitating side effects which come with it.

An inflexible Nice process plus the drug company's inability to produce all the requested data has led to this being just the latest in a string of hugely disappointing rulings on prostate cancer drugs. Once again men in England will have to take their chances with the Cancer Drugs Fund.

The current system is flawed. It is not fit for purpose and it is the very people it is supposed to serve who are bearing the brunt. This decision is unjust and it needs to be overturned so that men in desperate need can receive the most effective drugs, wherever they live.

– Owen Sharp

Prostate cancer drug rejected for wider NHS use

Nice's chief executive said the watchdog was 'disappointed' not to be able to extend the availability of the drug Credit: PA

A life-extending prostate cancer drug will continue to only be available to sufferers who have already undergone chemotherapy, the NHS financial watchdog said.

In final draft guidance reassessing the use in the NHS in England of abiraterone, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) ruled that to extend the availability of the drug was "not cost effective at its current price."

There is "clear evidence" that the use of abiraterone before chemotherapy gives patients "longer healthier lives," according to The Institute of Cancer Research, where the drug was discovered.

Nice's chief executive Sir Andrew Dillion said: "We know how important it is for patient to have the option to delay chemotherapy and its associated side affects, so we are disappointed not to be able to recommend abiraterone for use in this way.

"However, the manufacturer's own economic model demonstrated that the drug does not offer enough benefit to justify its price."

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