Scots back new cancer drug move

CAMPAIGNERS in Glasgow are celebrating the introduction of a skin cancer drug in Scotland.

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The treatment, which extends the lives of patients dying of the condition, has been approved after a U-turn by health chiefs.

Calls to introduce the Zelboraf pill were rejected by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in September last year.

But two months later it was introduced in England and Wales by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence(NICE), leading to protests from doctors and charities.

Glasgow charity Melanoma Action and Support Scotland (MASScot) has been campaigning for the drug north of the Border.

Chairwoman Leigh Smith said: "We are delighted that Zelboraf has been approved for use in Scotland. We know from trials in which Scottish patients took part that Zelboraf can greatly improve the quality of life as well as extending it.

"Thank you to all involved in development, clinical trials and in particular those brave patients who participated in trials, particularly the phase one trials."

The pill is used in patients who have inoperable metastatic melanoma and studies show it can extend life for more than a year when compared to chemotherapy.

The Scottish Govern-ment is looking to address the way SMC appraises medicines to ensure there is access to more innovative therapies.

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Health

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