WELSH Conservatives have reacted angrily to the news that another life-extending cancer drug may not be available to patients in Wales.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued final draft guidance on the prostate cancer drug Zytiga, rejecting it for use on the NHS for patients whose cancer has spread, prior to receiving chemotherapy.
In England, this means the drug will be made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund. Labour has rejected setting up a similar fund in Wales.
The Rarer Cancers Foundation has said a similar fund for Wales could cost as little as £3.1million. Welsh Conservatives have consistently called for a Cancer Treatments Fund to be set up in Wales.
Earlier this year research by Bristol University revealed that Welsh patients are seven times less likely to access modern cancer medicines than their counterparts in England.
Darren Millar AM, Shadow Minister for Health, said: “It appears that yet another life-extending cancer drug is going to be denied to patients in Wales because Labour continues to refuse to fund cancer medicines on cost grounds.
“It is grossly unfair that two cancer patients on either side of the Welsh/English border continue to receive vastly different standards of care and access to medicines which could give them more precious weeks and months to spend with their loved ones.
“How can Carwyn Jones and the Labour Party look Welsh cancer patients in the eye as they continue to refuse to make available cancer medicines, which would be readily available for patients in England?
“Patients with aggressive cancers, which have spread beyond the prostate, should be able to receive this drug if it is recommended by their doctor, before their well-being deteriorates due to chemotherapy, which can be a debilitating and traumatic experience.
“Cancer patients in Wales should not receive second class treatment and I strongly urge Labour Ministers to reverse their opposition to a Cancer Treatments Fund, which could make life-extending drugs like Zytiga available.”