Labour MEP to lead on clinical trials rethink - 2012-10-10
European rules on how clinical trials are authorised and carried out are set to be rewritten over the coming months. Glenis Willmott, Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and spokesperson for Labour MEPs on health, has been named as the rapporteur, or lead MEP, for the job.
"I'm delighted to be steering this crucial piece of legislation through the European Parliament, and negotiating the final text with EU governments," Glenis said.
"There couldn't be a better time to be changing these rules. If we get them right they could create many skilled jobs in theUKandEurope, as well as leading to new life-saving treatments and drugs.
"We all know that we desperately need to stimulate economies acrossEuropeby creating new jobs. Europehas traditionally dominated the medical research field, but over the last few years there has been a decline in clinical trials in the EU, partly due to failures in the existing rules and partly due to competition from emerging markets.
"Simplifying the rules will encourage more European trials, not just by pharmaceutical companies but also by medical research charities and academic institutions, and that means more jobs and opportunities for British researchers."
An increase in the amount of clinical trials carried out will hopefully lead to new and better treatments for a whole range of diseases and conditions. One of the most pressing problems with the current rules is the administrative burden of carrying out a trial in a number of different countries, and this will be a core issue for Glenis in the revision.
"I have been working with children suffering from rare cancers who have no tried and tested treatments available to them. If we get these rules right, research will be more easily carried out across European borders. This is vital for rare diseases, where there simply aren't enough British patients to make a trial feasible in theUKalone.
"It's a clear case whereBritainis better off working together with our European neighbours. In this case better European co-operation could actually save lives."
Notes to editor:
The current Clinical Trials Directive dates back to 2001.
The European Commission adopted a proposal for a new Clinical Trials Regulation in July 2012 which can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/health/files/clinicaltrials/2012_07/proposal/2012_07_proposal_en.pdf
The revision will first be debated and voted on in the European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, which Glenis is a member of, before being voted on by the whole Parliament. Glenis will then use this mandate to negotiate the final text with the governments of EU Member States.