Mr Swales received a degree in Chemical Engineering from Manchester University, before training as an accountant. He worked in a variety of financial and business management roles at ICI.
Pharmaceutical Trial Data/Tamiflu
Ian Swales was a member of the Public Accounts Committee for their report "Access to clinical trial information and the stockpiling of Tamiflu", issued January 2014. The report minutes show that Mr Swales took an active role asking questions during the evidence session. The summary of the report reads:
- The Department of Health (the Department) spent £424 million on stockpiling Tamiflu, an antiviral medicine used in the treatment of influenza, for use in a pandemic, but had to write off £74 million of its Tamiflu stockpile as a result of poor record-keeping by the NHS.
- There is a lack of consensus over how well Tamiflu works, in particular whether it reduces complications and mortality. Discussions over this issue among professionals have been hampered because important information about clinical trials is routinely and legally withheld from doctors and researchers by manufacturers. This longstanding regulatory and cultural failure impacts on all of medicine, and undermines the ability of clinicians, researchers and patients to make informed decisions about which treatment is best. There are also concerns about the information made available to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which assesses a medicine's clinical and cost-effectiveness for use in the NHS.
Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, and co-founder of the AllTrials campaign welcomed the report calling it "a complete vindication of AllTrials’ call for all the results, of all the trials, on all the uses of all currently prescribed treatments".
In November 2010, Mr Swales signed four amended Early Day Motions critical of homeopathy: EDM 284A1: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy, EDM 285A1: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells, EDM 286A1: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression, and EDM 287A1: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia. These amended motions were all against the use of homeopathy, and highlighted flaws in studies that had been welcomed by the original pro-homeopathy motions.
Health Committee Nomination
In February 2015 Ian Swales voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.
University Tuition Fees
In December 2010 Ian Swales voted against increasing the upper limit on university tuition fees from £3290 per year to £9000 per year. The proposed increase was a response to the Browne Report, published in October of that year, which had proposed a complete removal of any upper limit on fees, together with other measures (largely adopted by the coalition government) to ease the burden of repayment.
In October 2010, Ian Swales signed Early Day Motion 767: Science is Vital Campaign. The motion stated that the house "believes that continued investment in research is vital in order to meet the technological and social challenges of the 21st century, and to continue to attract high-tech industries to invest here; further believes that large cuts to science funding are a false economy, due to evidence that research investment fuels economic growth".
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- http://ianswales.focusteam.org.uk/ - old website