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Extra time drug u-turn

Wednesday May 16th, 2012

British regulators today performed a u-turn over a controversial drug - which campaigners say can give men with prostate cancer quality "extra time".

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence had proposed to block the use of abiraterone.

Today it says it will support the drug, which is expected on average to give patients with serious disease another three months of life.

It is also taken orally, allowing patients to be treated at home.

The u-turn came after the manufacturer agreed to drop the price of the drug for the NHS.

Cancer Research UK, which played a key role in developing the treatment, welcomed the news.

Chief executive Dr Harpal Kumar said: “This is wonderful news for patients with advanced prostate cancer and, in part, this U turn is down to the public’s disappointment at the initial refusal.

He said the wrangle over the treatment had distressed many men, who faced "anxiety and confusion" because the NHS would not fund it.

Owen Sharp, of The Prostate Cancer Charity, said the drug remained unavailable in Scotland.

He said: "We need to see every man who needs this drug receive it on the NHS, regardless of where they live in the UK."

NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said he was "very pleased" to recommend the drug.

Tags: Cancer | Menís Health | NHS | UK News

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