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Coronavirus Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:01 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 4:01 pm, 23rd March 2020

Absolutely. The chief medical officer is personally looking into that issue to make sure that when there is a treatment, we can bring it to bear as soon as is safely possible. There is a challenge with a disease that has, thankfully, a mortality rate as a proportion of the overall population as low as this one, which is that we do not want to do more harm than good. Many of these drugs are safe, because they are licensed for another purpose. It is a question of repurposing them—this is for treatment, rather than vaccine—and that is something we are actively working on. If the right hon. Lady has examples of particular barriers that we need to crunch through I would like to know about them. If she could email me I will take that up with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.