Wales

Pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane gets go ahead in Wales

Pancreatic cancer cell Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Pancreatic cancer is the fifth-biggest cancer killer in the UK

Pancreatic cancer patients in Wales are to become the first in the UK to get access to a new NHS drug treatment.

Abraxane has been recommended by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) and will be funded by the Welsh government.

The drug can slow pancreatic cancer cell growth, in a disease that is now the UK's fifth-biggest cancer killer.

Use of the drug has been rejected in England and Scotland, and is not available in Northern Ireland.

The decision was welcomed by Pancreatic Cancer UK, which says patients with the disease have just a 3% chance of surviving.

'Life-extending'

Its chief executive Alex Ford said: "This is an important step forward for pancreatic cancer patients in Wales, as there are currently very few treatment options available.

"The decision gives clinicians another weapon in their armoury to help fight the disease and, while patients will still need to meet certain medical eligibility criteria, such as being fit enough to tolerate the treatment regime, it means more patients will get access to life-extending drugs."

Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford said AWMSG's study found Abraxane to be both clinically and cost effective.

"I am proud that in Wales we have a system in place where patients get access to proven and effective treatments for cancer and other life-threatening conditions," he said.

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