A patient safety group has thanked Hove Conservative MP Mike Weatherley for signing a parliamentary motion urging better testing of new drugs.
The Safer Medicines Campaign praised Mr Weatherley for putting his name to the House of Commons early day motion EDM 475.
Mr Weatherley said that although many medicines are essential and save many lives, their side effects put a million Britons in hospital and kill more than 10,000 every year.
This makes them one of the leading causes of death in Britain.
He wants to see better methods to test the safety of new drugs.
Current methods rely on animal tests which, he said, often create a false sense of security.
He cited the examples of Avandia and Vioxx, which have both been blamed for causing thousands of heart attacks, many of them fatal.
However, tests on animal indicated that they would protect the heart.
He said that new safety tests, using state of the art techniques on human tissues and in ultra low dose studies in volunteers, promise to give results more predictive for humans.
But these tests are not yet required by law.
A bill – the Safety of Medicines (Evaluation) Bill 2009 – was proposed but failed to make it into law.
Dr Margaret Clotworthy, science director of the Safer Medicines Campaign, said: “It is time to compare these new tests with the animal tests currently required by the government.
“Technologies to predict safety in humans have leapt ahead in the past ten years but our regulations are stuck in the past.
“These new technologies must be embraced to reduce the tragic toll of adverse drug reactions.
“We must congratulate Mr Weatherley for taking a lead in modernising our outdated regulatory system.”
Mr Weatherley said: “Too many people are harmed by the medicines which they hope will cure them.
“If superior tests are available, the law should require them.
“I will do everything I can to hasten the comparison called for in the Safety of Medicines Bill, which I am proud to support through EDM 475.
“We must move safety testing into the 21st century for all our sakes.”
The motion, proposed last year by the Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell, has attracted 133 signatures from MPs across the political divide, including Brighton Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas.
The full text of the motion says: “That this House believes that the safety of medicines should be established by the most reliable methods available in order to reduce the large and increasing toll of serious adverse drug reactions; and calls on the government to initiate a comparison of currently required animal tests with a set of human biology-based tests, as proposed in the Safety of Medicines (Evaluation) Bill 2009, to see which is the most effective means to predict the safety of medicines for patients.”