HC Deb 17 November 1949 vol 469 cc2170-2
11. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Health if he will arrange that where drugs or medicines, such as insulin or liver extract, have to be taken over a long period, such prescriptions are to be issued free of charge.

21. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Minister of Health whether he will take the necessary action to ensure that the insulin, needles, syringes and other drugs and implements required in diabetic cases are exempted from the 1s. prescription charges.

Mr. Bevan

I have not yet anything to add to my reply to the hon. Members for Willesden, East (Mr. Orbach) and Salford, North (Mr. McAdam) on 3rd November.

18. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Minister of Health what percentage of the prescription forms dealt with by the pharmaceutical pricing bureaux carry a single prescription, and what percentage more than two.

Mr. Bevan

Precise data are not available. Evidence before me suggests that the average percentages are about 60 per cent. and a little under 10 per cent. respectively.

33. Dr. Broughton

asked the Minister of Health what is the average cost of National Health Service prescriptions; how much of that amount is dispensing fee; and how much the cost of container.

Mr. Bevan

The average cost of National Health Service prescriptions in England and Wales is at present about 3s. Of that amount one shilling and one-third of a penny represents the average dispensing fee, and a penny farthing the average cost of containers.

Dr. Broughton

Does my right hon. Friend contemplate making changes in any of these items of expenditure?

Mr. Bevan

No, I have not anything in mind at the moment.

Mr. Piratin

Before the Minister introduces his regulation concerning payment for prescriptions, will he give consideration to reducing the average price of prescriptions, even if it means lowering the profits of certain firms?

Mr. Bevan

All those matters have been looked into, and the profits of the firms have already been reduced.

37. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Minister of Health what consultations have taken place between him and representatives of the drug and pharmaceutical industry in order to see how prices can be lowered to lessen the charge of prescriptions.

Mr. Bevan

The prices to be paid for drugs supplied on National Health Service prescriptions are agreed between my Department and the Central National Health Service (Chemist Contractors) Committee and are reviewed monthly. Significant reductions have been obtained in certain fields.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the very great rate of profit made on some of these medicines, would the Minister consider publishing a statement giving in detail the cost of various popular medicines and the profits being made out of them?

Mr. Bevan

I would not have the information.