Medical innovation bill

The Medical Innovation draft bill is out for public consultation

  • UPDATE 01/05/14: Cancer Research UK has now submitted our response to the Department of Health’s consultation on the Medical Innovation Bill, and you can find our response here (pdf).

Last week the Department of Health launched a public consultation on a draft Medical Innovation Bill proposing new legislation to address challenges to innovation in bringing forward new medical treatments. This consultation has been promoted by Lord Maurice Saatchi, inspired by the death of his wife from ovarian cancer in 2011.

We are deeply sympathetic to Lord Saatchi’s motivation for bringing forward the proposals, and welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation.

In order to address the questions set out in the document and assess the potential impact of the proposed legislation we will be talking with the cancer clinical community over the next few weeks. We’ll be gathering opinions from researchers, clinicians and other experts across the UK to help us put our response together, and will publish it once the consultation closes on 25th April 2014.

It’s worth pointing out that here in the UK, there are many things already in place to encourage innovation. For example, early stage clinical trials provide the best way in which patients can be recruited to test new treatments – many trials of brand new agents are run through our national network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres. There are also flexible mechanisms in place that enable doctors to get access to treatments that aren’t widely available on the NHS.

However, we know that more could be done, especially for patients with life-threatening conditions where there is high unmet medical need. We have often blogged about the need to reduce barriers to innovation, from the need to cut ‘red tape’ to make it easier to run clinical trials through to a more flexible approach to drug development.

We’ll update this post as things move forward.

Emma Greenwood, Head of Policy Development