Mary to Champion Life Saving Drugs Bill in Parliament

[Insert MP name] has vowed to help pass a new Bill through parliament that could benefit hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK.

The Off-patent Drugs Bill, supported by Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, is designed to address the problem of making drugs that have fallen out of patent, but have since proved effective for clinical uses outside of their original licence, routinely available on the NHS.

Breast Cancer Now is championing the Bill as, among its other benefits, it would improve access to two types of breast cancer drug; one which can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer developing; and another which can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer spreading from the breast to the bone, at which point it becomes incurable.

[Insert name] joins MPs across the country pledging to attend the second reading of the Bill on the 6th November 2015 and take it a step closer to passing into law.

Mary said: “I will be voting in favour of the Off-patent Drugs Bill this Autumn because it will improve access to low-cost treatments for a range of serious and chronic conditions including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

“It is crucial that affordable treatments are used to their full potential, particularly at a time when NHS resources are stretched. The Bill will tackle this issue head-on and stands to benefit hundreds of thousands of people, not only in North Tyneside, but across the whole of the UK.”

The problem the Bill seeks to address occurs if a drug is shown to be useful for a new purpose after its original patent has expired. Without a patent in place to protect the investment of a pharmaceutical company there is no incentive for them to sponsor the treatment through the process which they would normally use to license it and approve it for use on the NHS.

Without a licence to act as a ‘kitemark’ of safety for a treatment, a drug is far less likely to be prescribed to patients, which results in effective and cheap treatments not being routinely available to those who need them.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “Thanks to research breakthroughs, huge advances have been made in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer and drugs are now more effective than ever before. But nearly 12,000 women are still dying from this disease each year in the UK, and too many effective treatments simply aren’t getting to patients.

“Some of the treatments this Bill could make available are capable of tackling breast cancer at both ends of the spectrum – preventing it from developing in the first place and stopping it from spreading and becoming incurable. Furthermore, the clinical benefits of some of these drugs go far beyond breast cancer which is why we need as much support as possible to bring this Bill into law.”

If passed, the Bill would put into UK law a duty on the government to step in and seek a license for a drug proven to be clinically effective for a new purpose, where no pharmaceutical company has plans to do so. This will mean that these drugs would be more likely to be made routinely available to patients.

The Bill already has the support of a number of charities, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Breast Cancer Care, The Institute of Cancer Research, The Brain Tumour Charity, Prostate Cancer UK, Leukaemia CARE, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the George Pantziarka TP53 Trust.


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