HC Deb 28 March 1946 vol 421 cc558-9
20. Mr. Nally

asked the Minister of Health whether he will have periodic examinations made of claims in Press, periodical and other advertisements, as to the health-giving properties of patent medicines, foods and wines, and take effective steps to keep the public informed of the results of such examinations.

Mr. Bevan

As regards patent medicines, I do not think that anything really useful on these lines could be done without further legislation—which would be complicated and is out of the question for the time being. As to foods, the Question should be addressed to my right hon Friend the Minister of Food.

Mr. Nally

Is the Minister aware that many millions of pounds are extracted from the public annually, largely on the strength of misleading and often completely false claims about the values of these products? Will he have another look at the situation to see whether it is possible without legislation to provide more adequate and much needed protection for the public?

Mr. Bevan

I certainly will have a look at it because I am sympathetic towards the intention that the hon. Member has. I think the public ought to be protected. That may be one of the more advantageous by-products of a national health service.

Sir T. Moore

Is it not a fact that the trade associations exercise a very strict supervision?

Mr. Gallacher

They are all Tories.

Mr. Bevan

They may be exercising supervision, but I cannot see that it is with beneficial results.

Mr. Skeffinģton-Lodģe

Is the Minister aware that many of these so-called remedies claim to cure more than one disease at one and the same time?

Major Lloyd

Would the Minister give urgent attention to the possibility of patent nostrums for the brave new world?