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MP backs call for safer medcines

29th February 2012
MP backs call for safer medcines
Patient safety group Safer Medicines Campaign thanks Gordon Henderson MP 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. Both drugs 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 ethically-consented human tissues (such as surgical 'waste', that would otherwise be incinerated) 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.
Kathy Archibald, 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 1960s. We must move safety testing into the twenty-first century, for all our sakes. We congratulate Mr Henderson for taking a lead in modernising our outdated regulatory system."
Mr Henderson said:
"Too many patients are harmed by medicines meant to help them, so the safety record must be improved. If more relevant tests are available, the law should require them. I will do everything I can to hasten the comparison called for in the Safety of Medicines Bill."

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