‘Megrahi cancer drug’ may get go-ahead
A CANCER drug that reportedly helped to keep the Lockerbie bomber alive for an extra two-and-a-half years may soon be made available on the NHS.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) will decide on Monday whether to approve abiraterone to treat people with prostate cancer.
Scotland is the only part of the UK where patients cannot get the medication, which is designed to extend life and improve quality of life for those in the advanced stages of the disease.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was apparently being treated with the drug until his death in May. Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill released Megrahi from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after he was diagnosed with three months to live.
Abiraterone was refused to cancer patients in Scotland by the SMC, which blamed its cost, but manufacturer Janssen has resubmitted its application.
Labour and the Conservatives have called on the SMC to reverse its decision.
Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Now that the rest of the UK is offering this drug, I can only hope that the SMC makes the right decision on Monday and allows this drug to be made available in Scotland.”
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