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 am 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 the UK and Europe, as well as leading to new life-saving treatments and drugs.
“We all know that we desperately need to stimulate economies across Europe by creating new jobs. Europe has 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 able to be easily carried out across European borders. This is vital for rare diseases, where there simply are not enough British patients to make a trial feasible in the UK alone.
“It’s a clear case where Britain is better off working together with our European neighbours. In this case better European co-operation could actually save lives.”