Cancer drug ‘which helped keep Lockerbie bomber alive’ to be made available on NHS
A CANCER drug that reportedly helped keep the Lockerbie bomber alive for an extra two and a half years is to be made available on the NHS.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved abiraterone to treat people with prostate cancer.
• Abdelbaset al-Megrahi reportedly treated with abiraterone prior to his death in May
• Prostate Cancer UK call drug approval ‘an absolute triumph’
Prior to yesterday’s announcement, Scotland was the only part of the UK where patients could not get the medication, which is designed to extend life and improve quality of life for those in the advanced stages of the
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, was reportedly being treated with the drug in Libya prior to his death in May. Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill released Megrahi from prison on “compassionate grounds” in August 2009 after doctors said he had just three months to live.
Abiraterone was previously refused to cancer patients in Scotland by the SMC on the grounds of cost, but manufacturer Janssen has resubmitted its application.
Prostate Cancer UK has welcomed the SMC`s decision to recommend abiraterone for use on the NHS in Scotland for men with incurable prostate cancer.
The news comes just two weeks after Prostate Cancer UK renewed its call for abiraterone to be made available in Scotland after Northern Ireland had joined England and Wales in approving the drug for NHS use.
Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Owen Sharp said: “Today brings a victory for both decency and common sense. I thank and congratulate everyone who backed us and helped us achieve this result.”
Mr Sharp added: “Now that the correct decision has been made, health boards must waste no time in ensuring that men who need abiraterone can access it as soon as possible.
“Men with incurable prostate cancer should not be subjected to any further delays at a stage in their life when time is at an absolute premium.”
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