UK Government announces Medicines and Medical Devices Bill

The UK Government has announced a Medicines and Medical Devices Bill as part of its programme outlined in the Queen’s speech.

According to the Government, the Bill’s purpose is to:

  • Ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the global life sciences industry after Brexit, giving patients faster access to innovative medicines and supporting the growth of our domestic sector.
  • Allow the UK to take a lead role in global research to find cures for rare diseases and improve treatments for patients around the world.

As explained in the proposed Bill, it also aims to accelerate the process of introducing new ‘low-risk’ medicines. This would be done by bringing forward powers to remove ‘unnecessary bureaucracy for the lowest risk clinical trials’.

The Bill also proposes to enable a ‘range of professionals’ to prescribe low-risk medicines which the Government hopes will make a more effective use of the NHS workforce.

In terms of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Bill is aimed at:

“Extending our global lead in personalised medicine and Artificial Intelligence in health. Our regulators, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, will be able to develop innovative regulation to enable early access to cutting edge technologies and break new ground in complex clinical trials.”

In addition to these propositions, the Bill also proposes to combat counterfeit medicines entering supply chains with the aim of ensuring patient safety.

Cautionary MAP Insights

The announcement of this Bill in the Queen’s speech comes amidst uncertainty in the UK around Brexit and speculation around a potential general election. It is therefore uncertain whether these proposals will be implemented as proposed.

MAP finds it encouraging that accelerating patient access to medicines is a prominent feature of this Government’s plans.

Find out more about Government in the UK on MAP Online.

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Published on 16. October 2019 in News, News UK