Seven drugs available in England but not Scotland, Holyrood hears

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs. Picture: Greg Macvean
Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Seven drugs to treat patients with a range of conditions from cancer to muscular dystrophy are unavailable to Scottish patients despite being available south of the border, it has emerged.

The list of drugs has emerged in the answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Tory shadow health secretary Miles Briggs.

This week Ruth Davidson highlighted the unavailability of breast cancer drug Perjeta, which gives patients in the advanced stages of the illness extra months of life, at First Minister’s Questions.

The list reveals a further six medicines which can be accessed south of the border, but not in Scotland.. The drugs in question have been approved by NICE – the body which decides on the availability of treatments in England or are available through the Cancer Drugs Fund in England.

As well as Perjeta, drugs routinely available in England include cancer medicine Cometriq, lung cancer drug Tecentrip, Soliris - which is used to treat a form of blood disease, and Ataluren, which helps some patients suffering from muscular dystrophy.

Also available in England but not Scotland are Gazyvaro, which is used to treat leukaemia, and Parsabiv, which treats kidney disease.

The Holyrood answer also revealed four drugs which are available on the NHS in Scotland but not in England.

They are the cancer drugs Avastin, Faslodex and Strivarga as well as muscle disease medication Spinraza.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said a cross-border arrangement was needed to ensure no-one missed out on crucial care by virtue of where they lived.

Mr Briggs said: “These figures show there are seven drugs available routinely in England which patients here cannot get access to.

“We already know from the devastating breast cancer stories what impact the Perjeta situation is having on patients.

“Where possible, we need to end this particular injustice altogether. There are also some drugs available here which patients in England cannot access.

“That’s why we need both governments to get together and find a way which ensures no-one misses out.

“It’s clearly wrong that a few miles could cost someone extra months of life.”

Mr Briggs added: “A cross-border arrangement on this issue is very much needed.”

This week Ms Davidson called for a deal to make Perjeta available in Scotland. At F

Perjeta is said to prolong the lives of women with incurable breast cancer by up to 16 months.

But it has been rejected three times for routine use in the Scottish NHS.

Ms Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said it meant some breast cancer sufferers had to move south “for a chance to live longer”. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said drugs decisions were taken independently by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).