Wait to see if trust will use prostate drug

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PATIENTS suffering from prostate cancer in the Portsmouth area will still have to wait to see if they can have a life-extending drug.

Yesterday it was announced the drug Abiraterone, marketed as Zytiga, can be given to advanced prostate cancer patients to extend their life by more than three months on the NHS.

Health watchdog the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) endorsed its use as manufacturers Janssen highlighted the benefits of the drug.

The firm also reduced its price, which was going to be sold for £2,930 per month, per patient.

The new price has not been given.

Individual primary care trusts (PCTs) will be in charge of buying in the drug for patients in the area.

But the PCT cluster Ship, which covers Portsmouth and Hampshire, said it is awaiting final guidance from Nice before it makes a decision.

Associate director for medicines management Neil Hardy said: ‘We note Nice has issued its final appraisal determination on the use of Abiraterone in the treatment of prostate cancer.

‘It’s important to note it’s not the final guidance and we await the publication of that, which is expected in June.

‘We are legally required to implement all Nice technology appraisals and will therefore discuss the guidance when published, and work with specialists to ensure this.’

The initial Nice endorsement has been welcomed by patient David Smith, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004.

Mr Smith, 69, of Highland Road, in Chichester, said: ‘This is good news.

‘Not everyone will be eligible but for those who can have it, it’s brilliant news.

‘Although Nice have said it can extend a life for more than three months, I know people that have been on the drug for six years during the trial.’