With 160,000 people dying from cancer every year in Britain, the fight against the disease is a top priority. Unfortunately, thanks to unwarranted EU interference, Britain is fighting with one hand tied behind its back. This is set to worsen next year when a new EU regulation comes into force, limiting the amount of data medical researchers can use in research for new treatments and cures.
Currently information on cancer patients is stored in the National Cancer Intelligence Network, so British medical researchers can use patients’ information for research into treating and curing cancer. However, the incoming EU Data Protection Regulation will only allow the storage of data from patients who expressly agree to their data being used for research – they will need to ‘opt-in’ and understandably, many may be unwilling to do so. This will dramatically limit the amount of data available for medical researchers to use.
Whilst cancer survival rates are rising overall, there are a multitude of specific cancers, usually those which are considered rare, which still have tiny survival rates. Take for example pancreatic cancer; just 4 percent of pancreatic cancer sufferers in Britain are still alive five years after diagnosis. This survival rate has not changed for 40 years. Britain’s fight against cancer is going well in most specific cancers, but the more the EU constrains medical researchers’ freedom of action, the longer it will take to find ways to treat and cure those deadly cancers which still require a lot of research into.
The Houses of Parliament Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology agrees the EU’s plans will damage medical research. Their report released last year expressed concerns over these consent requirements being “incompatible with the broad consent models used in many (medical research) studies”.
Nor is this the first time the EU has undermined vital medical research in Britain, costing British lives. In 2001 the EU Clinical Trials Regulation drastically increased the amount of red tape surrounding clinical trials. This made it far more difficult to conduct these trials, slowing down the development of new drugs. Whilst some of this red tape has been cut with a later EU Clinical Trials Directive enforced last year, the fact remains for 10 years the EU stood in the way of vital new life-saving drugs being tested and approved, costing lives in the process.
Arguably the most contentious issue of the General Election campaign is the NHS and health care, but despite cancer being the biggest cause of deaths in Britain, no-one is talking about this damaging EU Regulation. The bureaucrats of Brussels are wilfully pressing ahead with their ideological plan to unify data protection rules at the expense of cancer care, not only in Britain but across all 28 EU Member States. They clearly have no interest in the welfare of the people they claim to represent, only their extreme vision of a United States of Europe.
It is clear the best way to speed up clinical trials and ensure medical researchers get the data they need is to Get Britain Out of the EU. Once independent again, we will be free to forge ahead with researching, treating and ultimately curing cancer and a whole range of other diseases, unhampered by excessive and unnecessary EU regulations. What remains to be seen is the death toll which the lethargic bureaucratic ineptitude so endemic in EU institutions inflicts upon Britain before this can happen.
Luke Stanley is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out