21st May 2012

Former Greenock Police Inspector, John Malcolm, who battled prostate cancer has urged Scotland’s medicine regulator to reconsider its decision not to recommend a breakthrough cancer drug on the NHS in Scotland.

Abiraterone is a ground breaking new treatment that can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and improve their quality of life by significantly reducing pain and other symptoms.

The drug has been recommended for use on the NHS in England and Wales, but the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has rejected it for routine use on the NHS in Scotland.

Local MSP Duncan McNeil has backed the former police chief’s call and has written to the SMC urging them to reconsider. He has also pressed the Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon to hold talks with the SMC.

Both John Malcolm and Duncan McNeil recently a made joint call for the government to boost prostate cancer care in Scotland and to do more to help raise awareness of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in Scotland.  More than 2,800 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Scotland and 19,000 Scottish men are currently living with the disease.


John Malcolm said:

“The SMC’s cruel and unjust decision to deny abiraterone on the NHS in Scotland is a bitter blow to hundreds of men dying of prostate cancer. The decision simply must be overturned. There is a growing cross party coalition of MSPs calling for exactly that outcome. The SMC has no time to waste in changing this decision as, for the men who desperately need this treatment, time is very much of the essence.”

Duncan McNeil said:

“Abiraterone is a once-in-a-generation breakthrough prostate cancer drug which can extend the lives of men with incurable prostate cancer and improve their quality of life. When effective, men who were previously bed-ridden on high doses of morphine have told The Prostate Cancer Charity that they can come off pain relief altogether and recommence a more normal day to day routine during the final months of their life”.

“It seems ridiculous that such a successful treatment that was developed in the UK is available but is being denied to men in Scotland when they need it most.  This is why I urge the Scottish Medicines Consortium to reconsider its decision and make abiraterone available as a matter of urgency.”