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NHS Medicines

Volume 673: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2020

10. What steps his Department is taking to increase the range of medicines available to patients on the NHS. (901426)

The systems that we have in place are already securing access to effective new medicines for many thousands of NHS patients—for instance, cystic fibrosis patients through the drug Orkambi. Our commitment to getting new drugs into the NHS through an innovative medicines fund will further expand the access to medicines for NHS patients.

My right hon. Friend is aware that two children in my constituency have families who are self-funding the cannabis drug Bedrolite, which is their only means of controlling their severe epilepsy. He has very kindly agreed to meet me to discuss their case, but what action is being taken to make Bedrolite available on the NHS for families such as the two in my constituency for whom this really is the last resort?

My hon. Friend is right to raise this issue, and I look forward to meeting him later this month to discuss it. These are desperately difficult cases. We have to trust doctors to make the right clinical decisions for each individual patient. Two licensed cannabis-based medicines have recently been made available for prescribing on the NHS. We keep working hard with the health system, and with industry and researchers, to improve the evidence base. Also, the costs need to be brought down by industry. Last week, the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill), held a roundtable with leading industry figures. I look forward to continued work to make sure that we can get these drugs to the people who need them.

Women suffering from endometriosis often do not get the medicine or treatment they need. One in 10 women suffer from this condition and it takes, on average, seven years to have a diagnosis. Will the Secretary of State please meet me and the all-party parliamentary group on endometriosis to discuss how we can develop research into this condition, and look at the work being done at Hull University?

Yes, I am very happy to look at that research and for either me or the Minister to meet the hon. Member and those whom she represents through the APPG. This is of course a very important issue. I think that it has been under-discussed for too long and should be brought up the agenda.

Peterborough is the UK’s fourth fastest growing city, home to over 200,000 people, and our hospital serves many, many more. Despite this, Peterborough and fenland patients are forced to travel to Cambridge, or further, for percutaneous coronary intervention and other cardiac medicines to treat or prevent heart attacks. Will my right hon. Friend support my ambition, and that of the trust, to ensure that there will be an elective PCI and other medicines cardiac service at Peterborough City Hospital?

I am very happy to look into that individual case and to meet my hon. Friend, or for the Minister to meet him, to see what we can do.