Thursday, 14 February 2013

Stephen Metcalfe MP challenges Minister on ‘antibiotic apocalypse’

Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose in the House of Commons last week to ask the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willets MP, what steps the Government are taking to speed up the drug development process.

The Governments chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies recently published a report in which she referred to the “broken pipeline” in the development of new drugs and warned of an apocalyptic scenario of antibiotic resistant disease in the next 20 years.

Mr Metcalfe, who is a member of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, used the opportunity in the House of Commons to get a Government response to this extremely pressing issue.

In response to Mr Metcalfe’s question, the Minister stated: “the Secretary of State for Health will, I understand, be launching an action plan on that particular issue in the spring. What we are doing in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is backing investment and ensuring a pipeline of new drugs for the future.”

“That is what the patent box is about, it is what research and development tax credits are about and it is what the new biomedical catalyst is about. We can be confident of the support we are providing for medical research in the UK.”

Mr Metcalfe later commented: “This is an extremely important issue and one that must be pushed up the Government agenda. I welcome the Minister’s response and will continue to monitor the situation closely. I will also continue to champion Professor Dame Sally’s message. We must work to fix the broken pipeline and this must be done sooner rather than later.”