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Thank you for signing The Pledge for Prostate Cancer, in which you commit to ensuring that “all men with prostate cancer have access to a full range of 'Gold Standard' treatment options and support services.” As my MSP, and in keeping with the above, I would like you to raise my concerns about the Scottish Medicines Consortium’s (SMC) decision not to recommend the prostate cancer drug abiraterone for use on the NHS in Scotland. As Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK, has said, the decision is “a cruel swipe at hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer.” This is particularly true now that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has formally approved abiraterone for routine use on the NHS in Northern Ireland, following in the footsteps of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England and Wales. This leaves Scotland as the only country in the UK where the drug has not been approved for routine use on the NHS. Studies on abiraterone show it can prolong the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer by an average of 4 months, as well as improving quality of life by reducing pain and other symptoms. The drug is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of prostate cancer for many years. It offers men the possibility of extending and improving the quality of their lives at a time when the only other treatment options are palliative. The SMC is currently reconsidering the drug for use on the NHS in Scotland, with its final decision due to be announced on 13 August 2012. As your constituent I would be grateful if you could live up to your support for The Pledge for Prostate Cancer by: • Writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing & Cities Strategy to highlight that if the SMC does not recommend abiraterone on the NHS men in Scotland will not be able to access a vital drug that has been approved for use on the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. • Writing to the SMC calling on them to recommend abiraterone for the NHS in Scotland. • Signing parliamentary motion S4M-02704: SMC Rejection of Prostate Cancer Drug, Abiraterone I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible to advise what steps you have taken to highlight to the Government and the SMC that all men in Scotland who require access to abiraterone should be able to access it via the NHS.
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