HC Deb 24 October 1949 vol 468 cc1007-8
49. Mr. Dumpleton

asked the Lord President of the Council what research is being carried out by the Medical Research Council into the claims made as to the effectiveness of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) therapy for heart diseases.

Mr. H. Morrison

A trial of vitamin E in the treatment of angina pectoris has been carried out with financial support from the Medical Research Council. The results did not bear out the suggestion that vitamin E should be used in the routine treatment of this condition.

Mr. Dumpleton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that an increasing number of doctors in this country are using this treatment and that it is claimed that beneficial results are obtained? Although it has not been unanimously accepted, is it not advisable to have an inquiry established whether this is or is not a treatment that should be more widely available?

Mr. Morrison

That is why these inquiries were made. That is the result of the investigation by the Medical Research Council, which the House will accept as a very highly authoritative body. If there is any change in the evidence, the Council will be willing to consider it again.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that results very different from those he reports as coming from the Medical Research Council have been obtained by highly reputable investigators in a clinic in Canada? As beneficial effects have been obtained from this vitamin in this country, would he not influence the Minister of Health to give a licence, so that this product can be imported into this country in sufficient quantities to give proper results?

Mr. Morrison

The investigations in Canada were taken into full account by the investigators of the Medical Research Council, but I am advised that carefully controlled attempts to repeat Doctor Shute's findings in this country and America have mostly given negative results.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is it proposed to issue some of this before 3.30 today?

Mr. Dumpleton

If a number of claims are made on behalf of this treatment, will they be passed on to the Medical Research Council?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir.

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