Lockerbie bomber prostate drug available

May 17, 2012 at 12:41 AM
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LONDON, May 17 (UPI) -- The drug many thought kept the Lockerbie bomber alive for years will be made available to men with advanced prostate cancer in Britain, officials say.

Officials at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said the drug abiraterone, or Zytiga, would be available for men with advanced prostate cancer who have already tried other treatments.

Dr. Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, the research charity that developed the drug, said abiraterone was licensed for use in Britain last September.

The drug can extend a patient's life by an average of four months to 15 months, but men have been known to live on it for as long as five years, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said the drug costs almost more than $4,700 per patient per month, but during the draft guidance Janssen, the manufacturer of the drug, submitted further information for the committee to consider, including "a revised patient access scheme which involves providing the drug to the NHS at a discounted price; further information on which patients would benefit most and clarification on how many patients could receive the drug," Dillon told the Telegraph.

"These factors enabled the committee to revise its preliminary recommendation and now recommend the drug for use on the National Health Service."

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