Patients with advanced prostate cancer in Scotland are waiting to find out if the National Health Service will pay for Johnson and Johnson’s new drug Zytiga, which could extend their lives by three months.
The drug, which costs £3,000 per month, was rejected for use in England and Wales in February after health watchdog NICE deemed it to expensive for use on the NHS.
The verdict disappointed Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson who said, "This decision makes no sense. Since it became available in the UK, abiraterone has been one of the most requested treatments from the Cancer Drugs Fund. This is because patients and doctors value the extra months of life it can give if prostate cancer has come back after chemotherapy."
Zytiga, whose generic name is abiraterone, was approved by US regulators last year to be used in combination with prednisone to treat men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who have already tried chemotherapy.
However, a recent clinical trial showed the drug improved survival of men with last stage prostate cancer, who have not received chemotherapy.