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Researchers criticise rejection of ‘game changer’ prostate drug

Nice said the drug would not be recommended for men with high-risk hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.

Researchers have criticised the rejection of a prostate cancer drug they hailed as a “game changer”.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) said thousands of men a year could be affected by the decision not to recommend abiraterone.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said on Wednesday the drug would not be recommended for men with high-risk hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.

Nice said this was because there was “no plausible cost-effectiveness estimate” for the treatment because manufacturer Janssen did not have an appropriate economic model for it.

ICR chief executive Professor Paul Workman said: “Abiraterone has been a game changer for treatment of prostate cancer – extending the lives of men with the disease, and crucially sparing them the side -effects of conventional chemotherapy.

“I am disappointed that men with advanced prostate cancer will not be able to access abiraterone as a first-line treatment.”

He urged Nice to discuss with the manufacturer the price of the drug, which the ICR said could be used to treat up to 16,000 men a year.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with one in eight being affected by the condition in their lifetime and around 40,000 new diagnoses in the UK every year.

Nice said the high-risk variant of the disease is estimated to account for approximately 15% of diagnoses.

Nice’s draft guidance will be out for public consultation until June 27.

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