Welsh MP's bid to free up low-cost drugs for cancer, Parkinson's and MS

Supporters say the law change would free up low-cost drugs Credit: PA, Klaus Rose

A Welsh MP will try to change the law today to allow doctors to prescribe life-saving and low-cost drugs that are currently unavailable but which could help a range of conditions such as breast cancer and MS.

The treatments known as 'off-patent' would be inexpensive to the NHS because their original patent has expired and which could be used to treat new conditions. But new treatments require new licenses that drugs companies are unwilling to apply for.

MPs will today discuss an attempt to break this vicious circle in a bill introduced by Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds.

The bill would change the law to require the UK Government to step in to approve the new use of the drugs.

The Labour MP has cross-party support for his attempt which follows a similar effort in the last parliament led by the former Conservative MP Jonathan Evans.

It also has widespread support from medical professionals including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians.

But the UK Government has indicated that it will oppose the bill in the Commons.

Nick Thomas-Symonds says he's been delighted by the support his bill has received but dismayed by it's likely to fail unless the government backs it.

He's urging ministers to think again: