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Empower: Access to Medicine on the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme

Empower: Access to Medicine on the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme

Les Halpin has been interviewed by John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme about his campaign to give people with rare, life threatening conditions the right to try unlicensed drugs.

Les talked about his diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and his predicament that no new drug has been licenced for his condition in 20 years. He said that he is “absolutely” prepared to risk trying drugs that have not been formally approved and that he thinks “many MND patients would be, obviously with full disclosure of those risks.” If the current law is not changed Les said, “I will be dead any time between this afternoon and a few years off. I already can’t move my arms and legs and I have limited breathing.”

Professor Sir Peter Lachmann, former president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and Sir Michael Rawlins, president of the Royal Society of Medicine and Chairman of NICE, then joined in the discussion. Sir Michael stated that “the problem is not a requirement to change the law; the problem is the difficulty in getting permission from the NHS to do this sort of research.” Professor Lachmann commented that Les is “doing exactly the right thing in taking this campaign direct to politicians”. During the programme George Freeman, Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk, tweeted “Brllnt piece on @BBCr4today on why we should allow patients with terminal disease to help test new drugs. ('Experimental Medicine') I agree.”

You can listen to the full interview here


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