Andrew Gwynne and Vicky Foxcroft have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care to call for answers regarding the decision to not procure the pre-exposure prophylaxis Evusheld.
Gwynne and Foxcroft have written in their respective capacities as Shadow Minister for Public Health and Shadow Minister for Disabled People to urge the Government to detail the rationale for refusing to procure the drug, as well as outline a strategy to protect clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunosuppressed people moving forward.
The full letter can be accessed here, with a plain word version below.
Dear Secretary of State,
We are writing following the announcement that the Government will not be procuring the pre-exposure prophylaxis Evusheld for the autumn and winter months. As you know, Evusheld has been developed to protect those who are acutely vulnerable to Covid-19 and do not respond to the vaccine. This is the fourth time that we have written to your department about Evusheld, and so far, responses have been unclear or non-commital. The fact that we – alongside patient support groups and various charities – have had to constantly call for more information from the department, is in itself very concerning.
Your department’s decision to not procure Evusheld is extremely worrying for those now facing a third winter without proper protection from Covid. Clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunosuppressed people feel totally let down by the Government. Blood Cancer UK said patients – many of whom have been shielding for more than two years – would be left “absolutely devastated” by the decision of your department. The patient campaigning group Evusheld for the UK described the decision as “a complete U-turn and a betrayal of the people who most need protection”. Clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunosuppressed people want their lives back, yet after today’s announcement, it feels as if they are back to square one.
Evusheld is already in use in 32 countries including the United States, France, Canada and Israel. Evusheld was granted conditional marketing authorisation by the MHRA for use in the United Kingdom over four months ago. On Thursday the 28th of July, 19 charities wrote an open letter to you, urging the Government to provide this drug for people who are immunocompromised. On Sunday 31st July, over 120 leading clinicians signed a clinical consensus statement declaring that Evusheld should be used as soon as possible to protect people most vulnerable against Covid-19. Please can you explain why these calls have been overlooked?
We expect every decision to be made with patients’ best interests at heart, but on too many occasions the needs of those most at risk of Covid-19 have been ignored.
We therefore urgently request that you commit to:
- Immediately publishing all the clinical and scientific advice that your department has so far received regarding Evusheld and the rationale for the decision not to procure the drug.
- Bringing forward an emergency strategy outlining what action the Government plans to take to ensure that clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable, and immunosuppressed people are protected moving forward.
Patients deserve answers as to why this decision was made. We urge you to provide a full and transparent rationale, and engage immediately with patients, charities and support groups, to allay fears and inform them of the action your department plans to take to ensure that clinically vulnerable, clinically extremely vulnerable and immunosuppressed people have access to the care and treatment they need to keep themselves safe.
We sincerely hope that you recognise the urgency of this issue, and look forward to your response.