The Medical Innovation Bill

The Medical Innovation Bill is a Private Members Bill introduced by Lord Saatchi, a Conservative peer in July 2014. It intends to encourage doctors to innovate and attempt new treatments, without the threat of litigation.

The controversy surrounding this bill is due to the response to this bill by doctors, medical groups, patient groups, charities and the legal profession.

The key concerns about this bill are:

– it doesn’t promote innovation as innovation in medical research happens already
– unlicensed medicines are already being used in the UK when required (e.g. paediatric medicine)
– the wording suggests that a doctor can ignore any peer or colleague opinions on the treatment and carry on regardless
– as long as procedure is followed any treatment is possible without a review process
– the scope of the bill covers not just serious or terminal illness but any type of condition, including procedures such as cosmetic surgery

The bill had it’s first reading in the House of Commons on the 26th January 2015 and there was no debate on the bill. A second reading date is yet to be announced.