What is the Medical Innovation Bill?
The Medical Innovation Bill will help doctors to innovate new treatments and cures safely and responsibly for cancer and other diseases.
The open access Medical Innovation Register will record all treatments and their outcomes, both positive and negative, which are received by patients under the Medical Innovation Bill.
→DOWNLOAD: Guide to the Medical Innovation Bill
↓Scroll down the page to see the infographic which explains how the Bill will work.
Why do we need the Bill?
Society has become more litigious. An unintended consequence of existing law is to act as a deterrent to medical innovation.
The Bill is about giving greater clarity and certainty to patients and doctors at the point of treatment, and not forcing them to wait for the unpredictable outcome of possible litigation.
“It is a tragic indictment of modern medicine that innovation is too often jettisoned in favour of the status quo for fear of legal action. Defensive medicine is at the heart of so much clinical practice today, but the Bill – if accepted into law – would deftly excise this, leading the way for doctors to feel free to strive for medical advancement.”
Dr Max Pemberton writing in the Daily Telegraph.
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists expresses a common view:
“Without unequivocal GMC and NICE support, ophthalmologists are understandably concerned that they may be assuming unacceptable personal liability by using an unlicensed drug when a licensed alternative exists. Consequently, patients may not be getting treatment when they need it and not getting the best results”
Aren’t clinical trials the route to innovation?
Clinical trials should remain the gold standard but so few patients are involved in trials of new treatments .
94.4% of cancer patients receive only the standard procedure.
The House of Lords Library reported on this subject on 11th November at 10.30am:
“We do not hold completely accurate data for these questions. …In the UK, for the equivalent type of trials which are the NCRI CSG portfolio interventional trials, the number recruited annually is around 5.6% of the UK cancer incidence.”
Sir Austin Bradford Hill, the forefather of the randomised controlled trial said:
“Any belief that the controlled trial is the only way to study therapeutic efficacy would mean not that the pendulum had swung too far, but that it had come right off its hook.”
Professor David Walker – Professor of Paediatric Oncology Faculty of Medicine Health Sciences, University of Nottingham says:
“There will never be enough trials, they take time and money, there are rarely trials for the less common diseases.
‘So when patients are in a situation with “nowhere else to go” and if there is no trial for which they are eligible, they need to be able to try treatments that might work, based upon the best judgment of their medical advisors.
‘We need to allow them to try such new drugs that may be applicable and collect that experience to inform the next generation of trials.
‘…The Medical Innovation Bill (Saatchi Bill) would do this, by protecting individual doctors who try new, licensed but untrialled treatments, on patients who have consented to such treatment outside of a formal trial. This cannot be – and isn’t – a license for the maverick doctor acting alone.”
Who is behind the Bill and what stage is it currently at?
The Bill is sponsored through parliament by Lord Maurice Saatchi.
It was introduced to the House of Commons by Michael Ellis MP and won Government backing on November 22nd 2013.
In a written statement Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, committed to running a full public Government consultation.
Michael Ellis MP accordingly withdrew the Bill to enable the consultation to take place.
The Department of Health, working with the Bill team, ran the public consultation in early 2014.
Following the consultation the Bill was re-introduced and it has now successfully moved through all stages in the House of Lords.
It has been scrutinised and amended by some of the finest legal and medical minds in the country and was unanimously passed from the House of Lords to the House of Commons on 23rd January 2015.
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