SMC rejects prostate cancer drug
Anger after ruling over abiraterone
A DRUG credited with extending the life of the Lockerbie bomber has been deemed too costly for use by the NHS in Scotland.
The recommendation by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) follows a similar draft decision in England and Wales over abiraterone.
The drug has been linked by a prostate specialist to prolonging the life of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who has outlived his three-month prognosis by more than two years.
The SMC stated: “SMC did not accept abiraterone for use in NHS Scotland because the balance of costs and benefits meant the medicine was not considered value for money.”
Owen Sharp, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, called the decision a “cruel swipe” at dying men, adding: “In very simple terms this drug allows men to spend precious extra time with family and loved ones.
“This decision sends yet another clear message that investing in treatments for men and prostate cancer is simply not a priority for the NHS in Scotland.”
Consultant urologist professor Roger Kirby, founder and director of The Prostate Centre in London, has said he believes abiraterone is responsible for Megrahi’s prolonged life.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said such an SMC recommendation meant a drug was not expected to be routinely used in the NHS, but health boards could use their discretion.
The Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said it was “shameful” that Scottish men might be denied a drug that has helped al-Megrahi.