The Access to Medical Innovation Bill will set up a database to collect the methods and results of all medical innovations by individual doctors across England and Wales so that successes and failures can be seen and shared by other doctors, scientists and researchers.
Lord Maurice Saatchi who sits in the House of Lords and his team have been working to get a Medical Innovations Bill approved. It’s only taken them 4 years. The final step is for the Queen to formally sign it.
Apparently, this database will drive forward evidence-based, medical science.
Many doctors innovate today, in their clinics, trying new techniques and drugs – but if no one knows about these innovations, other doctors cannot adopt and perfect them.
Lord Saatchi was motivated to create the Bill after the death of his wife, from peritoneal cancer. She was a novelist, a scholar and promoter of poetry, a publisher and a theatre producer.
I’d be interested to see how this Bill will be implemented.
I think this is supposed to be a step towards openness about cancer treatments, in particular, non-allopathic treatments. And hopefully it will encourage doctors who have tried non-allopathic treatments to share their successes.
Whether this will protect them from the long-arm of the law who is still on the side of allopathic medicine, I have serious doubts. Why share if all you’re going to get is a jail sentence for using B17?
I am still not clear how this will work. Is it just a database of information? Is it compulsory? If it is not made compulsory, why would doctors bother with the red tape of sending in their results? Who is going to enforce this Bill and make sure doctors toe the line?
There’s also the problem that for many non-allopathic doctors who treat cancer, there is no one set protocol. Let me clarify: an oncologist would have a set protocol for treating cancer, which is determined by trials and statistics. Every oncologist would follow the same set protocol. For a non-allopathic doctor, treatments vary according to the patient. So there is one-size-fits-all approach. How then to replicate any success if it’s dependent on so many variables?
And there’s the issue of the Cancer Act 1939 which persecutes any treatment (mainly non-allopathic is my understanding) that purports to be a cancer cure. I can understand why it was put in place because cancer patients are vulnerable and desperate for cures, and there are a lot of quacks and con-men out there.
I cannot see non-allopathic doctors risking their livelihood by sending in their results. Also, all the non-allopathic doctors I’ve come across are far too busy trying to save the lives of their patients to bother with more red tape. And justifiably so. I would rather a doctor be focused on me than paperwork.
What I’d like to see is the government supporting innovation, the way they do in Germany where off-label treatments are permitted, and incredible success stories exist, and doctors and clinics are willing to take risks because they are NOT persecuted for innovation. This Medical Innovations Bill doesn’t go far enough and may in effect open a can of worms by exposing well-meaning doctors who are stepping off-piste to persecution.