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Derek Twigg, MP for Halton

Working Hard for Widnes, Runcorn & Hale

Derek welcomes NICE decision on breakthrough prostate cancer drug and urges Halton & St Helens PCT to ensure timely access

28 Jun 2012

Derek has welcomed the final announcement by the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) that the breakthrough prosatate cancer drug, abiraterone, will now be made available on the NHS in England & Wales.

Abiraterone can extend the lives and improve the quality of life of men with advanced prostate cancer once all other treatment options have stopped working.  Derek wants to ensure this vital treatment is made available to men who need it and has called upon Halton & St Helens NHS to ensure that the guidance is implemented well within the three month deadline.

Derek said:

"I very much welcome this important decision which can offer men with advanced prostate cancer precious extra quality time with loves ones at a stage when the only other treatment options are palliative.  I am pleased to be part of the efforts to deliver this drug on the NHS for men with incurable prostate cancer.

The next step is to ensure that men in Halton who need abiraterone can access it routinely on the NHS, which is why I strongly encourage the local Primary Care Trust to waste no time in ensuring this is exactly what happens."

Abriaterone was provisonally rejected by NICE in February 2012 on the basis of cost.  Following a campaign led by Prostate Cancer UK - and supported by MPs, health professionals, menn with prostate cancer and the media - NICE decided to review the evidence and re-evaluate the treatment as an end-of-life drug, for which it uses a higher price threshold.  It also undertook successful negotiations with the manufacturer to reach an agreement on price.

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK (formerly The Prostate Cancer Charity) said:

"We are delighted that NICE's decision to approve abiraterone for routine use on the NHS in  England & Wales has been confirmed and that final guidance has now been published.  We are hugely thankful to Mr Twigg for his support in this crucially important campaign.  I hope other MPs follow his lead by calling on their local health care providers to implement this decision as a matter of urgency."

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