HC Deb 13 December 1949 vol 470 cc2506-7
48. Mr. John Lewis

asked the Lord President of the Council if his attention has been drawn to the claims which have recently been made in the United States of America regarding the efficacy of antihistamine preparations for the treatment of the common cold; and what research has now been undertaken into the use of this drug in the United Kingdom.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

The claims to which the hon. Member refers are naturally of great interest to the Medical Research Council workers who are studying the problem of the common cold at the Harvard Hospital, Salisbury. Unfortunately, a carefully controlled attempt, made last spring, to confirm the value of one of the drugs most recommended in America failed to show that it had any dramatic effect. The experiment emphasised the need for great care in assessing the claims made for cold cures, in view of the extremely variable natural duration of colds without special treatment.

Mr. Lewis

When my right hon. Friend referred to one of the drugs that has been investigated in America, was he referring to the anti-histamine preparation mentioned in the Question; and in view of the fact that millions of man-hours are lost every year due to the effect of the common cold, which must cost the nation a great deal in terms of revenue and productivity, would he undertake that he will have investigated at all times any authentic claims which may be made in regard to the treatment of the common cold?

Mr. Morrison

I was referring to the drug which my hon. Friend has mentioned. Certainly, we will follow up any promising line of research.