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Off-patent Drugs

Volume 588: debated on Tuesday 25 November 2014

9. What recent representations he has received on access to off-patent drugs; and if he will make a statement. (906227)

The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the debate in the House two weeks ago in which I gave a very full statement of the Government’s position on off-patent and off-label drugs. We want to promote their wider use, but we do not believe that the Bill presented to the House is the right mechanism for achieving that.

Will the Minister borrow from the approach taken with the Medical Innovation Bill, and commit to consulting on whether the Government should support, or how they might pursue, the key purposes of the Off-patent Drugs Bill?

As I said in the debate, we absolutely support the Bill’s intention, which is to promote the greater use of off-label and off-patent drugs, but that must remain a decision for clinicians exercising their judgment about what is best for their patients. We do not think it right that the Government should be put in the position of effectively sponsoring new drug licence applications to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. I have convened a round table working group with all the stakeholders to try to look at how we can maximise information to clinicians to promote the use of off-label and off-patent drugs.