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Our letter to the SMC

Posted by: Policy and campaigning 11 June 2014

Following the disappointing news that the Scottish Medicines Consortium hadn't approved Abraxane for routine use on the NHS in Scotland, we've written to the Chairman of the SMC, Professor Jonathan Fox. See the text of our letter below:

Professor Jonathan Fox, 
Chairman, Scottish Medicines Consortium,
11th June 2014

Dear Professor Fox,

SMC decision on Paclitaxel albumin (Abraxane®)

Monday's decision by the SMC not to recommend Abraxane for use in NHS Scotland was a great disappointment, to say the least. Not just to us as a charity which seeks to improve pancreatic cancer awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care across the UK, but for the many patients who need access to new drugs to give them extra time with their families and loved ones.  It is especially distressing as this treatment is currently available across the border in England via the Cancer Drugs Fund.

This decision is difficult to understand given the severity of the condition - with 5 year survival rates of just 3% in Scotland - and the lack of treatment options currently available to patients. Abraxane represented the first significant progress in treatment for around 20 years and that progress has now been halted for those without the means to pay privately for their healthcare.

We understand that Celgene can resubmit their application through a new process for end of life drugs in Scotland, called Patient and Clinician Involvement (PACE). However, we also understand that the process could take several months to complete.

Given that time is the one factor metastatic pancreatic cancer patients lack the most, together with the fact that there are very few treatment options available at the present time, I would urge that if a resubmission is made by Celgene that Abraxane be reconsidered through the PACE process as a priority and as soon as possible.  

Yours sincerely,

Alex Ford
CEO, Pancreatic Cancer UK
cc. Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing

If you live in Scotland, now is the time to email and call your MSPs to let them know how disappointed you are about the decision!