Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Health Committee 1

Dr Tim Crook from the Scottish Melanoma Group told the Health and Sport Committee the inequality in access to cancer drugs between Scotland and England is "unacceptable", on 4 December 2012.

The UK government's cancer drugs fund, worth £200m a year, was set up for patients in England to access drugs approved by their doctors but which have not been given the go-ahead for widespread use on the NHS.

Dr Crook, who worked in Essex before coming to Scotland, told MSPs he could not offer Scottish patients the same drugs he had been able to offer English patients which needed to be "addressed urgently".

Professor Charlie Gourley from the Scottish Cancer Research Network (South East Scotland) said it was "very, very difficult" to get cancer drugs through the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) process and said these expensive drugs were being given elsewhere in the developed world which was a "big issue for patients".

Professor Gourley said not being allowed to use new drugs now would affect clinical research in the future.

Dr Stephen Harrow from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre said it was not possible in most cases to access new cancer drugs through individual patient treatment requests (IPTRs) and that some drug companies were "looking at us like an inferior health service".

Also giving evidence in the round table session were Dr David Dunlop from the Scottish Cancer Research Network (West of Scotland); Dr Russell Petty from the Scottish Cancer Research Network (North); Dr Richard Casasola from Scottish Cancer Research Network (East of Scotland); and from Dr Noelle O'Rourke and Dr Alexander McDonald from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.

Health and Sport Committee

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