Mon, 17 May 2021

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Medical Innovation Bill more likely to inhibit than promote innovation - MDU

Medical Defence Union

2 min read Partner content

On the day of the third reading in the House of Lords of the Medical Innovation Bill, Dr Michael Devlin, MDU Head of professional standards and liaison said:

“Innovation is positively encouraged and happens all the time in medicine. Why introduce a law when there is no evidence of need and it is more likely to inhibit than promote innovation? Patients already benefit from advances in medicine brought about by innovation which is mostly, though not always, undertaken within clinical research protocols. When doctors believe treatment of patients will be enhanced or perhaps only made possible by innovation, there is no legal or ethical reason that stops it from happening. 

"The Medical Innovation Bill has been comprehensively amended during its progress through the House of Lords. The most recent amendments were made after the Report stage in December and add nothing in terms of additional protection for doctors or for patients. In practice they could make matters worse because doctors will need advice on their precise meaning and any effect they may have on innovative treatment proposed for patients.

"Expanding the Bill does not make any practical difference because the legal and ethical position is already clear. There has never been any need for a Medical Innovation Bill.

"If the Bill were to become law we would expect members to ask for our advice about its correct interpretation. We have been concerned throughout the passage of the Bill that it is likely only to lead to confusion and delay, whereas currently these problems don’t exist. That concern is reinforced by the current version of the Bill."

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