Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has joined major research charities based in Cambridge in slamming Government plans to ration new treatments on the NHS – plans which will have a knock-on effect on research in Cambridge.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has announced new rules on  the introduction of new drugs that cost NHS England more than £20 million a year. The restrictions are likely to be enforced next month.

Mr Zeichner says that leading research charities like Cancer Research UK are right to warn that the change will lead to people losing their lives while waiting for treatment. 

The additional barrier will disproportionately affect diseases with large numbers of patients, such as breast and lung cancer.

There are also concerns that this new obstacle would increase uncertainty in the life sciences sector as the UK prepares to leave the EU. The proposals have been seen as a disincentive for those in the sector developing medicines to bring to the UK market in case those medicines are then subject to delays. 

Mr Zeichner, who is vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Life Sciences says: “This decision is all about saving the Government money, and is a response to the financial crisis in the NHS created by the Government. It will be dreadful for patients who are denied access to life-saving treatments, but it will also have a deadening effect on the vital research sector which is so important in and around Cambridge. The Government should think again.”

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