HC Deb 22 January 1953 vol 510 cc381-2
14. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement on the claims made in respect of the drug B.T.Z. as a cure for rheumatic ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

The use of this substance is still under investigation in this country. Current evidence suggests that in view of the possibility of undesirable toxic side effects it should not be taken except under medical direction.

Mr. Evans

Would the hon. Lady agree that it is in the highest degree undesirable and, indeed, [...]ruel that the lay Press should spread the most extravagant claims among the public, leading them to entertain false hopes, all of which will certainly be dashed when they have to come into direct contact with this disease and these alleged cures? Is it not possible in some way to direct the attention of the Press to the need for being chary about making these statements before an announcement has been made by the hon. Lady's Department or some other authoritative source?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. Gentleman that it is most undesirable that hopes should be raised with respect to drugs which are not yet wholly proven, and I hope that adequate publicity will be given to this Question and reply.

Sir J. Crowder

Is B.T.Z. the same as cortisone?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

No, Sir.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Will the hon. Lady suggest to her right hon. Friends on the Front Bench that this incident emphasises the need to set up a Press Council?