Ministerial Response to Off Patent Bill

Please see response below from the Department of Health to the letter that was published in that austere British broadsheet, The Telegraph, earlier this month. The DoH's response, although predictable, is surprisingly clear and sensible. The signatories, including Prof G, clearly didn't think through all of the issues. Obviously we need more discussion and clarity about the use of the terms 'off-label', 'off-license', 'off-patent' and 'repurposing'. Prof G now feels quite foolish about how naive he was in formulating, and taking, a public position on the Off Patent Drugs Bill. Let's hope he learns from this experience.

SIR – The Government must act in order to address the widespread variation in access to low-cost, clinically effective treatments.
On November 6, Nick Thomas-Symonds’s Off-Patent Drugs Bill will be debated in the House of Commons. By reducing the barriers to the availability of repurposed drugs on the NHS, this Bill has the potential to save lives.
We fully endorse the principles of this Bill and hope the Government will support it so that it becomes law. It could benefit hundreds of thousands of people – some of whom currently face limited treatment options – with a range of diseases, including cancers of breast, prostate, brain and blood, as well as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is vital to have a mechanism in place to ensure that drugs that have been shown to be clinically effective in a new way can be made routinely available to patients who need them.
Dr Giles Maskell
President, Royal College of Radiologists
Ian K Ritchie
President, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Professor J Michael Dixon
Professor of Breast Surgery, University of Edinburgh
Professor Ian Smith
Head of Breast Unit, Royal Marsden
Sir John Burn
Professor of Clinical Genetics, Newcastle University
Dr Jeremy Chataway 
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Professor Jack Cuzick
Head, Centre for Cancer Prevention
Director, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London
Professor Susan Short 
Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, St James's University Hospital
Professor Gavin Giovannoni
Professor of Neurology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Dr Alistair Blair
Chief Clinical Officer, NHS Northumberland CCG and GP
Professor Andrew Tutt
Professor of Oncology, King's College London
Head of the Division of Breast Cancer Research, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Dr Klaus Schmierer
Reader in Clinical Neurology and Consultant Neurologist (Hon), Blizard Institute (Neuroscience), Queen Mary University of London, Royal London Hospital (Barts Health NHS Trust)
Professor Sanjeev Krishna 
Institute for Infection and Immunity, St George's, University of London
Professor David A Walker
Professor of Paediatric Oncology, Children's Brain Tumour Research Centre, University of Nottingham
Dr Richard Baird
Academic Consultant in Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, University of Cambridge
Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology, Addenbrooke's Hospital
Professor Graham T Layer
Consultant General and Breast Surgeon, Royal Surrey County Hospital
Visiting Professor of Surgical Sciences, Surrey University
Professor Johann de Bono
Head of the Division of Clinical Studies, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Robert Coleman
Yorkshire Cancer Research Professor of Medical Oncology, Academic Unit of Clinical Oncology, Weston Park Hospital, University of Sheffield
Professor Robert Huddart
Professor of Urological Cancer, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Gareth Evans
Professor of Genomic Medicine and Cancer Epidemiology/ Honorary Consultant Clinical Geneticist, Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester
Professor Ian Judson
Professor of Cancer Pharmacology, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Peter Schmid
Centre Lead, Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Marc Tischkowitz
Reader and Honorary Consultant Physician in Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge
Professor Anthony Howell
Professor of Medical Oncology/ Research Director, Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust
Professor Carlo Palmieri
Professor of Translational Oncology, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, University of Liverpool
Dr Alistair Ring
Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Ellen Copson
Associate Professor in Medical Oncology and Honorary Medical Oncology Consultant, University Hospital Southampton Foundation NHS Trust
Dr Sacha Howell
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology, University of Manchester
Department of Medical Oncology, Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Professor Adrian L Harris
Professor of Medical Oncology, Department of Oncology, Oxford University
Dr Nick Turner
Team Leader in Molecular Oncology, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Trevor Powles
Medical Director, Cancer Centre London
Professor D J Dodwell
Institute of Oncology, St James Hospital
Stephen R D Johnston
Professor of Breast Cancer Medicine and Director of Breast and Plastics Clinical Business Unit, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Professor Nandita de Souza
Professor of Translational Imaging, Institute of Cancer Research, London
Professor Devinder Kumar
Department of Surgery, St George's, University of London
Charlie Chan
Consultant Surgeon, Cheltenham Nuffield Hospital
Dr Matt Williams
Consultant Neuro-Oncologist and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Imperial College
Dr Adrian Harnett
Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of East Anglia
Professor Mark Hull
Professor of Molecular Gastroenterology and Consultant Gastroenterologist, University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Professor C Oliver Hanemann
Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry

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