Promoting the benefits of data sharing key for personalised medicine

PUBLISHED: 09/05/2018

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy has highlighted the need to provide reassurance to the public and importantly promote the benefits of data sharing for personalised medicine.

Speaking to a full room of parliamentarians and stakeholders at the APPG on Personalised Medicine’s event at the House of Commons on Wednesday, the Minister praised the country’s world leading health system, universities and life sciences sector, but stressed that to realise the opportunity of personalised medicine:

“We need to strain every sinew to bring the public with us. It needs to not sound like a science experiment, it needs to sound like something that is going to save my mum, my child, and provide reassurance about the kind of information that the state will hold about people and more importantly the purpose to which it will be put, which is about saving and extending lives.”

The event was led by APPG Chair Helen Whately MP, who said

"Personalised medicine is such an exciting and fast paced area of healthcare. It was fantastic to see so many clinicians and parliamentarians come together to hear from the Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy and those in the field. The UK is in a unique position to harness these emerging care opportunities thanks to our universities and NHS, as we heard from the speakers. This is the beginning of the conversation on personalised medicine, and I look forward to supporting the sector and the APPG in continuing that conversation."

In attendance were parliamentarians including Jo Churchill MP, Baroness Masham, Nick Dakin MP, Baroness Bottomley and Viscount Ridley.

Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed (University of Liverpool / Royal Liverpool University Hospital) and Dr Adam Platt (AstraZeneca) also took to the podium to reflect on Lord O’Shaughnessy's speech, and pose questions on affordability and cost effectiveness of personalised medicine, and whether guidelines such as GDPR will reassure citizens about use of their personal health data.

Prof Sir Pirmohamed added:

“It is not a matter of precision medicine verse public health it is actually public health and personalised medicine – it is not a competition. These are both things we should be focusing on and I think as we move forward we should be thinking about personalised prevention as well.”

The APPG on Personalised Medicine is open to all members of the House of Lords and Commons who are interested in exploring how the UK can better use science and technology to create a more sustainable and efficient NHS and deliver more personalised medicine for patient benefit – find out more about the group here. PHG Foundation provides the Secretariat for the Group.