The Off-patent Drugs Bill was today (6 November 2015) debated in Parliament, having been proposed for a second reading by Nick Thomas-Symonds MP.
Despite receiving widespread cross-party support in an impassioned debate, the Bill did not go to a vote - and will not progress - as a result of the Government withholding its support. Following today’s outcome, the Off-patent Drugs Bill remains on the order paper, should the Government decide to rethink their decision.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We are extremely disappointed that, because MPs were unable to sufficiently debate the Bill in the time allowed, it did not pass to committee stage today. The Government chose not to support the Bill and as a consequence refused to allow it to go to a vote.
“In not seriously engaging with this important issue, the Government has chosen to ignore the views of patients and clinicians. This is a missed opportunity to ensure routine access to crucial treatments and also to address the systemic issue so that repurposed drugs can be made routinely available in future. Today the Government has let patients down and missed the chance to save lives at little cost to the NHS.
“The Bill had widespread support across the medical community and from thousands of members of the public, and – in the absence of any serious alternative – we felt that it was the best option available to ensure fair, routine access to treatments across a whole range of medical conditions, including those that could prevent breast cancer developing and spreading.
“The Minister claimed in his speech that the Government has been pursuing a non-legislative solution to the issue of off-patent drugs. We will be watching closely, and strongly urge the Government to honour this commitment, and turn words into action on this serious issue.”