In an update to this piece: A quacktastic piece of legislation in England and Wales (UPDATE: Revision), the debate about the Saatchi bill heated up last Friday in the U.K. The legislation to allow a “get out of jail free” pass to cancer quacks gained support from some reputable doctors. Others vehemently oppose this as misconceived and wrongheaded.
A new law to allow patients to try untested medicines will protect them and nurture medical innovation, a coalition of some of the UK’s most senior health experts say.
More than 40 medical professionals, including Prof Michael Rawlins – President of the Royal Society of Medicine and formerly a head of National Institute for Clinical Excellent, back the Medical Innovation Bill in a letter to The Telegraph.
The Bill, which will be debated by peers, will make it easier for doctors to try out new treatments on patients without the fear of being sued.
Patients will also be able to look up new medicines tried out on other ill people on a new database run by Oxford University and ask their doctors for the same treatments.
Sounds good, right? Patient advocates are adamant that it is NOT good.
“The Bill is a huge threat to patient safety. It is aimed at solving a problem that doesn’t exist. We applaud and encourage medical innovation, but giving untested drugs to critically ill people is not the way forward.”
Indeed. It gives a free rein to a ton of quacks. It will not result in development of a reputable treatment ANY faster than the standard RCT route.
A new amendment to the bill requests doctors receive agreement by other specialists in other hospitals before trying the treatment. Perhaps medical professionals can chime in, or our commenters can provide additional info to tell me how exactly THAT provision would work. Doctors are busy. I can not see how they will take time out to study someone else’s speculative treatment. It does not make sense and it seems to be just a ploy to get this to move through.
I’ve been following #saatchiBill on Twitter and the commentary of some skeptical bloggers. It seems profoundly dangerous, promoted by someone who has an emotional bias but a misunderstanding of cancer treatment.
See this post (beware, harsh language) that describes how Lord Saatchi insults every legimate cancer doctor with this bill, more or less telling them that they are failures and want people dead. That rhetoric alone would be sound reasoning to object to the bill.
Should non-experts with shallow knowledge and a pie-in-the-sky idea about medical research be dictating its future? No. Then why are all these experts on board? Money? Protection from malpractice claims? It’s called the Quack’s Charter for good reason. And, it sounds like really bad legal precedence. It’s disturbing that the criticisms are not being taken seriously.