Press Release, 22nd January 2014

Committee praised for work on New Medicines

The Scottish Parliament’s health committee which is convened by Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has been praised for its inquiry into Access to New Medicines.

The praise came from Masscot – a skin cancer charity – who aim to raise awareness of Melanoma and how it can be prevented.

As a result of the committee’s inquiry the Scottish Government committed to providing greater access to medicines for people who suffer from rare diseases.

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil said:


“The Access to New Medicines inquiry was an important piece of work and I appreciate the kind comments from Masscot.”

“I recently received an update from the Cabinet Secretary for Health Alex Neil and I expect further progress to be made on this issue soon.”

“I also look forward to working with Masscot in the future to raise awareness of Melanoma and other skin cancers.”

Leigh Smith (pictured with Duncan) who is the head of Masscot said:

“As well as his duties as a constituency MSP Duncan McNeil is Convenor of the very powerful and effective Health and Sports Committee. This involves a great deal of work but rarely as much or quite as important to everyone in Scotland as the work on Access to Medicines which Duncan’s team tackled last year.  Proposals made by doctors, nurses, patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry had to be read, understood and investigated with care.  These groups were then invited to a consultation. This gave the MSPs the opportunity to ask questions of the experts and patients.”

“When he was approached by friends of Ann Fisher and told of her need for a newly licensed drug – which had been turned down on grounds of inadequate value for money by the Scottish Medicines Consortium – Duncan had full understanding of the problem, as this was exactly what the Access to Medicines investigation he was working on.” 

“Having met Ann and her family, Duncan was determined that Ann would have the drugs she needed, but despite every effort Ann deteriorated and died before she was able to have the treatment. Ann has not been forgotten and now Duncan and MASScot will work to try to prevent this cancer by calling on better education on the need for sun burn prevention – the cause of skin cancers.”

“Ann’s brother Steve Langan will be participating in the Mongol Rally this year to raise funds for MASScot in Ann’s memory. Steve is a local boy who graduated from Glasgow University and is now Managing Director, Hiscox UK and Group Marketing Director. If you would like to support him you will find his page at”