Friday, 14 January 2011

Safer Medicines Campaign

Patient safety group Safer Medicines Campaign today thanked Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts for signing Early Day Motion 475 “Safety of Medicines" to improve the safety testing of new drugs.

Although many medicines are essential and save many lives, their side effects hospitalise a million Britons and kill more than 10,000 every year, making them one of our leading causes of death.
Better methods to test the safety of new drugs could have a major impact. Current methods rely on animal tests, which often create a false sense of security, as with Avandia and Vioxx, which both caused many thousands of heart attacks, killing thousands, despite animal tests which indicated that they would protect the heart.
New safety tests, using state of the art techniques on human tissues and in ultra low dose studies in volunteers, promise to give results more predictive for humans. But these tests are not yet required by law.
Dr. Margaret Clotworthy, Science Director of Safer Medicines Campaign, said:
"It is time to compare these new tests with the animal tests currently required by the Government. Technologies to predict safety in humans have leapt ahead in the past ten years but our regulations are stuck in the past. These new technologies must be embraced to reduce the tragic toll of adverse drug reactions. We must congratulate Mr. Betts for taking a lead in modernising our outdated regulatory system."
Clive Betts said:
"We have made enormous progress in pharmaceutical testing and development, but we can do even better. If superior tests are available, the law should require them. I’m pleased to support the campaign to hasten the comparison called for in the Safety of Medicines Bill. This is a real opportunity to move safety testing into the twenty-first century."