Early Access to Medicine - A Year On (EmpowerATM)

Next week sees a series of significant developments for the Empower: Access to Medicine campaign. In the first instance we are releasing our maiden policy report Early Access to Medicines – A Year On.

When I launched this campaign, over a year ago, our campaign had one goal - to accelerate access to medicines for patients by empowering them to play a greater role in their treatment by having a say in the risks they take (our website now features a video roundup of the campaign).

How we achieved that end was never set in stone and we launched the campaign with an open mind. As part of that we have met with a huge range of stakeholders; patients, medical professionals, policy makers, industry specialists, regulators, philosophers and ethicists, all have played a part in shaping our thinking. Our report sets out that thinking and the path ahead (you can access it through the website).

Recently the media has featured heated debate on the cost of drug development (29th August, 30th August, 3rd September, 4th September). However, despite the arguments there does seem to be consensus that something needs to change.

Politicians are increasingly taking the lead too. We are working closely with Lord Saatchi, who has eloquently raised similar issues in his Medical Innovation Bill (he discussed some of them on the Andrew Marr Show this morning).

We also welcome the support shown by Michael Ellis MP who is introducing a Bill into the House of Commons on Wednesday. This Bill is an excellent vehicle for driving patient access to medicines further up the political agenda. For too long the drug development process has been allowed to continue unchanged and unchallenged.

It is clear that patient access to drugs is on the agenda, what is less clear, however, is how the Government and medical profession intend to improve the system. Our report sets out a series of clear paths that we can take to speed up the process, drive cost out in the system, empower patients and ultimately give people the right to try a course of treatment that might save their life.

With best wishes

Les Halpin

Website: www.accesstomedicine.co.uk

Twitter: @empoweratm

Facebook: Right to Try

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