NICE Appraisals: Rare Diseases Treatments

Part of Backbench Business - Services for People with Autismbackbench Business – in the House of Commons at 3:48 pm on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Treasury) 3:48 pm, 21st March 2019

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. This is a political issue—what we are discussing today is political. It is about which of our constituents get access to which medicines, and when; who our public healthcare service helps with our public money; and who we allow to die without help.

Members on both sides of the Chamber have recently urged the Government to use their Crown use licensing powers in the case of Orkambi. Those powers can get around medicine patents when pharmaceutical companies are simply refusing to deal honestly with the NHS, and they are an option. There are always options for the Government if they wish to use them, but they seem to be content with voicing frustration. They do not do anything—they will not even threaten to do anything that might help. If the Patents Act 2004 is not working, as Ministers have said, we need to do something to replace it. Maryam’s family and others want action now. They need Spinraza now; when will they get it?