The abiraterone drug which has been discovered by researchers in London is widely used in other parts of the world except for England.
Now, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the drug for men with advanced prostate cancer who have had hormone therapy but not chemotherapy.
‘National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has extended the access of a drug ‘abiraterone’ for men suffering from advanced prostate cancer before undergoing chemotherapy in the UK.’
Until now, men with prostate cancer who have had chemotherapy was only offered the drug. But a recent data provided by the drug manufacturer Janssen stating the drug's efficacy and cost-effectiveness has made the NHS agree for its increased accessibility.
The data submitted by Janssen showed that men who took abiraterone after hormone treatment lived for 4.4 months longer than if they were treated with hormone therapy alone. Some men even lived for four years than those who did not take the drug.
Abiraterone taken before chemotherapy can also delay the progression of prostate cancer, increase the survival chances by reducing pain and improve quality of life.
This is the most sought after prostate cancer drug in the world. But, so far, men suffering from prostate cancer in the UK were able to get the drug only through NHS Cancer Drugs Fund.
Through this fund, only 439 people with prostate cancer benefited with the drug. But this new decision will increase access to over 6,000 men currently suffering with advanced prostate cancer in the UK. NICE has recommended abiraterone in combination with prednisone or prednisolone.
Janssen has agreed to reduce the cost of the drug from £2,930 per month to £2,300. Also, it has requested NHS to charge the drug only for the first ten months of treatment for any single patient.
Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research in London, said, "This is a big victory for men in England with prostate cancer, and means they will finally catch up with the US, Europe and indeed Scotland in being able to access abiraterone earlier in the course of treatment."