Welcome breakthrough on prostate cancer drug

I was pleased to learn last week that the Scottish Medicines Consortium has overturned its initial decision to deny approval for a new prostate cancer drug.

The decision means that the drug, abiraterone, will now be available to patients through the NHS in Scotland and brings Scotland into line with the rest of the UK.

The initial decision to reject permission was made earlier this year and since then I have been contacted by a number of constituents who wanted to raise their concerns.  I shared these concerns and backed a motion lodged by my colleague Jackie Baillie calling on the SMC to reconsider their decision.  I am delighted that these calls have been heard.

According to the charity Prostate Cancer UK (formerly the Prostate Cancer Charity) over 40,000 men across the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.  It also estimates that 250,000 men are currently living with the disease in the UK.

The drug has been shown to extend the lives of men with prostate cancer, significantly reducing pain and improving their quality of life so the decision to approve it is welcome news.