Call for breakthrough drug for prostate cancer to be available in north

Tue, 22/05/2012 - 17:24 -- Editor

A BREAKTHROUGH drug in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, which has been approved for use on the NHS in England and Wales, should be approved for Northern Ireland, says Mark Durkan.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan welcomed today's announcement by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) that they are to recommend abiraterone – a breakthrough treatment for advanced prostate cancer – on the NHS in England and Wales, and has written to the Health Minister Edwin Poots urging the drug to be approved for use in Northern Ireland.

Mr Durkan, who supported the Prostate Cancer Charity’s campaign at Westminster for the approval of abiraterone, said:  

“I welcome NICE’s acceptance of the Prostate Cancer Charity’s argument that abiraterone should be treated as an ‘end of life’ drug and has decided to overturn its draft decision in February not to fund the drug generally on the NHS in England and Wales.

“This is great news and an excellent outcome for men with advanced prostate cancer and great credit should be given to the campaigning of The Prostate Cancer Charity and its supporters.

“I am now eager to see the implementation of NICE’s guidance by the Department of Health here and have therefore written to Edwin Poots requesting that he gives NICE’s decision due consideration.

“The Department of Health normally endorses NICE’s recommendations and I hope that the Minister can ensure the drug is approved for use in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.”

Bryan Jones, policy and campaigns manager for the Prostate Cancer Charity thanked Mr Durkan saying:

“Your support for our campaign in Parliament in recent months has been vital in helping to achieve this outcome. Thank you for your work on behalf of men with prostate cancer throughout the UK – not least in Northern Ireland.”