The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved the chemotherapy drug Abraxane for routine use on the NHS in Scotland.
Today’s news comes after months of uncertainty for campaigners who have been lobbying for a positive decision since June last year when the SMC initially announced that Abraxane® would be not be made available for routine use on the NHS in Scotland on cost grounds.
Ms Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK comments: “We are absolutely delighted with the SMC’s decision. They have listened to the positive input received from us, patients and clinicians and they should be applauded for doing so.
“The decision means that eligible patients in Scotland will now be able to access this treatment for free on the NHS, alongside patients in England and Wales. Currently, pancreatic cancer causes almost 5% of cancer deaths in Scotland and so it is important that as many patients as possible are given every opportunity to access life-extending treatment. And whilst not every patient will be eligible to use Abraxane, a significant number will and we hope this will provide them with the opportunity of spending more time with their loved ones.”
“However, whilst we are celebrating today, we will continue to campaign to ensure Abraxane remains a “listed” treatment on the Cancer Drugs Fund in England and also that the Health Service in Northern Ireland allows eligible patients to access the drug there too.
Ms Ford adds; “We know that Abraxane has been found to extend a patients’ life for, on average, 2 months, however in some instances it has given people significantly more time. Our recent campaign, “Two more months”, highlighted just what precious time with loved ones would have meant to families. With so few treatment options for patients, we truly believe that Abraxane should be made available on the NHS as a matter of urgency, wherever they may live in the UK.”