Patients hoping to take a cancer treatment for advanced kidney cancer will be forced to seek private treatment if they live north of the border, it has been revealed.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC), which is responsible for deciding which treatments are cost-effective, has ruled that Pfizer's Sutent should not be made available as a first-line cancer treatment on the NHS in Scotland, a decision which has dismayed campaigners and patients with the disease.
A decision is yet to be made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) in England and Wales.
A spokesman for the SMC said that the consortium was "truly disappointed" not to be able to recommend the cancer treatment, but that there were "significant uncertainties in evidence and calculations, leading us to conclude that (the drug's) high cost in relation to its benefits has not yet been justified".
However, the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer has expressed disbelief at the decision, insisting that the SMC has issued "a death sentence" to sufferers.
"Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting Sutent doctors will be forced to say 'no' to patients who need access to this life-saving treatment," said James Whale, the charity's founder.
The drug costs around £22,000 for nine months worth of treatment.
© Adfero Ltd
Cancer treatment news : 10/07/2007