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Lockerbie Bomber Kept Alive by Pricey Wonder Drug

Hormone-based cancer drug ironically developed in UK
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2011 8:09 AM CDT
Lockerbie Bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi Kept Alive By Abiraterone, a Pricey Wonder Drug
Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, is wheeled through the international hospital in Tripoli, Libya, Sept. 9, 2009.   (AP Photo/Abdel Magid Al Fergany, File)

(Newser) – How is Abdel Basset al-Megrahi still breathing? UK doctors gave the convicted Lockerbie bomber just three months to live when he was released two years ago, but Libyan doctors have kept him alive with a brand-new hormone-based cancer drug called Abiraterone, a medic in Tripoli tells the Daily Telegraph. Abiraterone isn’t even available yet in the UK where it was developed, but it’s been hugely successful in clinical trials.

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It’s also extraordinarily expensive. Johnson & Johnson is planning to market the drug as Zytiga and charge an estimated $5,000 a month for it. “Medics have used it to prolong his life,” a source in the Tripoli Medical Center said. “He remains extremely ill, and very weak, but believes that the blessing of his survival will help him to clear his name.” He added that thanks to the fighting in Libya, there won’t be any celebrations commemorating tomorrow’s anniversary of Megrahi’s release. (Read more Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi stories.)

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