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Rare Diseases and Cancer

Volume 652: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2019

12. What steps he is taking to improve the diagnosis and treatment for patients with rare diseases and cancer. (908567)

The blood cancer charity Bloodwise launched its “Hear our voice” report in Parliament last week. Will the Minister ensure that NHS England works with the charity to ensure that blood cancer is included in the 75% target?

Yes, I will. I spoke at the launch of Bloodwise’s excellent report at its parliamentary reception last week. I have been clear since the new ambition was announced that the 75% target applies to all cancers, and we will not achieve it unless we focus on harder-to-diagnose cancers, such as blood cancer.

Given that the number of people suffering from rare diseases in any one country is always likely to be small, and given our changing relationship with the European Medicines Agency and the European medicines market, what is the Minister doing to ensure that the future development of orphan drugs in this country is safeguarded?

The hon. Gentleman will know that the draft withdrawal agreement hopefully sets us on a relationship with the EMA, but the UK’s strategy for rare diseases, which was published in 2013, sets out our commitment to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rare diseases and to end the diagnostic odyssey that has been referred to throughout the past few years.