Views & Reviews No Holds Barred

Withdraw Saatchi’s quackery bill

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2974 (Published 29 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2974
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com

“Innovation” is a lovely word, with shine and goodness at its heart. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that Maurice Saatchi’s proposed Medical Innovation Bill1 would encourage “a climate where clinical pioneers have the freedom to make breakthroughs in medicine.” It could “lead to major breakthroughs, such as a cure for cancer,” Hunt said, by removing “barriers that prevent innovation which can save and improve lives.”2

This is misguided. Saatchi’s concern is for people with late stage cancer who “receive only the standard procedure . . . the endless repetition of a failed experiment.” The bill seeks to protect those doctors who make “responsible innovation” when most medical opinion would be unsupportive of their proposals.3 In Saatchi’s …

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