Stenhousemuir cancer campaigner slams drug decision

John Selvey, chairman of Forth Valley prostate cancer support group, is calling for a new drug to be made for widely available. Picture: Alan Murray

John Selvey, chairman of Forth Valley prostate cancer support group, is calling for a new drug to be made for widely available. Picture: Alan Murray

  • New drug used to treat prostate cancer
  • Scottish Medicine Consortium backed limited use in 2012
  • Campaigners claim it should be available to pre-chemotherapy patients
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A Stenhousemuir grandfather is helping lead a campaign for a new prostate cancer drug to become more widely available for patients across Scotland.

John Selvey condemned a recent decision by the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC) –which rules on which drugs the NHS should buy – not to roll out the use of abiraterone, which supporters claim is a life-prolonging and life-changing treatment for patients.

The new drug was approved for routine use on post-chemotherapy patients in 2012 but it is not widely available for men who have not received chemotherapy.

John (62), a retired BP refinery worker, is chairman of the Forth Valley Prostate Cancer Support Group. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2009, and currently receives abiraterone as part of a wider drug trial.

“The SMC’s decision to deny abiraterone on the NHS in Scotland is an intolerable blow to hundreds of men with incurable prostate cancer,” he said.

“We are saddened to see that, once again, men are being denied treatment because it’s deemed to be too expensive.

“The manufacturer, Janssen, must make sure its product is sensibly priced so that men aren’t caught in a situation where a drug exists that could improve and extend their lives.

“Men with advanced 
prostate cancer deserve the right to routinely access a treatment that can delay chemotherapy and its devastating side-effects.”

The SMC ruled last month that the cost of the drug outweighed its benefits.

The Forth Valley prostate cancer support group meets regularly in Falkirk and Stirling.

For more details call Ann Innes on 0141 314 0050, or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org.