Boring but important - off patents drug bill

Hi Everybody,

ever feel like the government doesn’t care? Ever feel like there’s no hope. This could make a big difference…

Did you know the off-patents drugs bill is back on the agenda, up for parliamentary debate and vote 6th November 2015?

This could really boost the treatments available to MSers.


Slowing disease progression in multiple sclerosis – If confirmed in phase 3 clinical trials, simvastatin – originally licensed for treating high cholesterol and the prevention of cardiovascular disease – would be the first drug that people with the secondary progressive form of MS could take to slow their disability progression. There are estimated to be around 65,000 people living with progressive forms of MS in the UK.

What will the bill do?

Places a duty on the Secretary of State to seek licenses for off-patent drugs that have been shown to be clinically effective for new purposes and where no other organisation has applied for a new licence.

What do you think? What could we do to get behind this?



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Sounds great Dave!!! I suppose it might even apply to LDN which is off-patent!

Don’t know what we could do… but might be worth looking for a petition to support the bill. 6th November isn’t far away!

Thanks for info. I’ll try and have a google tomorrow and see if I can find a petition.

Pat xx

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Yep as Asda says “every little helps”

An online petition sounds like a great idea. I googled it as you suggested but nothing came up.

Also we need to lobby our MPs to stay around for the vote on 6th November which is a Friday so many will be off home. Here’s a link to do that, just copy and paste it into the address bar then click Email your MP

I’ve done this for my MP, it’s very easy, you don’t have to compose anything, it does it for you.

Back to the petition, it would be good for the MS Society to start this but they haven’t shown much interest so far so I have phoned the charity Breast Cancer Now and left a message. I will let everybody know what they say. I thought it would be better if a big charity did this as the wording will be quite important.

What we need it momentum and that comes from us.



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Thanks Dave. I’ve sent it to MP… as you say, it’s very easy.

Doesn’t matter that it’s for breast cancer and not MS, the end result will help hundreds of conditions.

Also shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Pat xx

Great Pat !

the more people email their MP using the link above which is incredibly easy the better, make some real noise about this.

Just remember everyone, this is a political issue and there’s nothing more politicians like than an apathetic or docile public, saves them having to do anything! Let’s make them work!



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Btw everyone, you don’t need to know who your MP is. Just put your postcode in and it will find you MP.

You don’t have to write anything. It’s all written for you.

Pat xx

Below I have pasted the MS Society response to my email. Don’t forget you can to email your MP by clicking this link

Hi Dave,

Thank you for getting in touch with us about the Off Patent Bill. We do plan to support this bill and have been working together with Breast Cancer Now and the MP sponsoring the Bill. We’ll be in touch with our campaigns community about how they’re able to support the bill soon.

With best wishes, Emma

Policy & Campaigns Team

Hi Everybody,

Do you agree, if we don’t help ourselves how can we expect others to bother?

The following is from Emma at the MS Society Campaigns Team…

To ensure the Bill is successful, we need at least 100 MPs to go along and vote for it on Friday 6 November. And we need you to contact your MP and encourage them to back the Bill.

The vote is on a Friday, when most MPs return to their local constituencies, which makes it more difficult to convince them to be in Westminster. Your email could make all the difference – please email them today.

We are supporting this Bill to ensure people with MS have access to the right treatments at the right time. Please ask your MP to do the same.

Here is the link Emma provided to email your MP, it’s dead easy, no effort required.


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Somehow I can’t see Jeremy Hunt being terribly interested, as this is the man that wanted to cancel the NHS tribute in the Olympic opening ceremony. Still, I have mailed my Labour MP and hope she will be supporting this worthy bill.

The Barts Blog made a good case for supporting the bill.

I emailed my MP and got a email back saying she’s already committed to attending on 6th of November (she’s Labour… as if you needed telling that)… and then got an automatic thing to thank her.

Good blog thanks Whammel and thanks Dave99 for putting this important link on here.

We can but hope!

Pat xx

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Emailed my MP. A vile career Tory in one of the UK’s safest seats. She never attends these debates, too busy spending her £157k expenses she claimed last year - and that’s with commuting to “work”. Clearly not on my Christmas card list.

even if you think you’re flogging a dead horse, give them some ear ache & publicise their mal representation. Gosh I can be wicked!


Done, although mine tells us what we want to hear…and then (normally) votes the opposite way…but at least we can try to make a difference.

Pam x

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Done - please do pass the news on, this is not for MS, it’s for cancer, Alzheimer’s and all sorts of other conditions - so while we may not be able to get 100 MPs just for MS, if everyone potentially affected mailed their MP as well, we could manage it. There are links on web sites for all these conditions, and it’s all made so easy - more or less all you have to do is put your postcode in and press a button or two

And I agree with Clarkey, MPs don’t half have a cheek, representing their constituents is what they get paid for - whether the constituent in question voted for them, or voted at all!

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I signed the cancer petition AND the MS one. Here’s the link from MSS site

Hi All,

not long to go now until the Off Patent Drugs bill vote 2015, here is a great reply from one of our MPs offering some encouragement, so if you haven’t emailed yours yet please do.

Dear Mr Wright

Thank you very much for your email regarding the Off-patent Drugs Bill being introduced by Nick Thomas-Symonds MP.

I am more than happy to give support to this Bill. I have some personal knowledge of the opposition there is within the National Health Service and the pharmaceutical industry to use generic drugs during my time as Finance Minister in Northern Ireland. It is estimated our drugs bill in Northern Ireland could have been reduced by anything up to 40% had off-patent drugs been prescribed by Doctors and Pharmacists rather than the branded drugs.

I believe this is an important way of cutting down the costs of the Health Service whilst not reducing the opportunities for proper treatment for patients and I trust that not only will the Bill be successful but it will then be acted on.

Sammy Wilson MP

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I did it a week or so ago

Sonia x

I would like to thank everybody who emailed their MP and also all the MPs who attended the debate until it ran out of time. We had right on our side but when political parties are bankrolled by big business the interests of the people come second.


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Only the Tories could oppose a bill that would cost pennies and help millions.

This is part of the e mail from MSS.

“The Government made clear that they were opposed to the Bill, despite the significant support the Bill received from across political parties, from charities like us and constituents like you who took action before the debate”.

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I was going to write ‘unbelievable’ but it’s actually all to believable from this government.

It was a sensible, cheap plan… so of course they’d oppose it.

Pat xx

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