The potential benefit of the Off-patent Drugs Bill to people affected by a brain tumour has been highlighted in an editorial featured in The Telegraph. The paper also features a letter in support of the Bill signed by 40 clinicians including Professor Susan Short who is leading a clinical trial to investigate the effect of hydroxychloroquine on high grade gliomas undergoing radiotherapy.
Access to off-patent drugs is a problem across many disease areas. We support this Bill, as do a number of other charities and research organisations including Breast Cancer Now, the Alzheimer's Society and The Institute of Cancer Research. The Bill would improve access to drugs where evidence demonstrates that they can treat a condition that they are not licensed for.
If evidence emerges that an off-patent drug can improve survival or quality of life for someone with a brain tumour then we must ensure that it gets to those who need it most. Professor Susan Short and her team are currently recruiting for a clinical trial to explore whether hydroxychloroquine, a drug licensed to treat Malaria and Parkinson's, can block the resistance of cancer cells to radiotherapy and enhance cellular repair after treatment for a high grade glioma. The Off-patent Drugs Bill will ensure faster access to the drug in the event that it proves effective for brain tumours.
The Bill will enter into its second reading in the House of Commons on the 6th November 2015. We urge you to contact your MP and ask them to turn out and vote in favour of the Bill so that it has a better chance of becoming law.