HC Deb 26 June 1958 vol 590 c586
18. Mr. Snow

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will re-examine, under the terms of the Safeguarding of Industry Act, 1921, and subsequently amending legislation, the key industry duty payable on steroid hormones and certain anti-biotics and vitamins, in order to satisfy himself that prices charged to the National Health Service in respect of certain drugs are reasonable, and are made controllable by varying such key industry duties in the light of recent pharmaceutical discoveries and productions in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Sir D. Eccles

Prices of drugs under the National Health Service are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Health.

If an application by users for a change in the duty on any of these drugs were made to me, I should consider whether any action were called for.

Mr. Snow

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that Answer, may I ask him whether he is aware that this Question was put down rather as a ranging shot with a view to drawing the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleague the Minister of Health to the fact that the powers under this Act may be a way, possibly a small way, to control the high cost of certain drugs in the National Health Service?

Sir D. Eccles

The hon. Gentleman probably knows that the key industry duty will lapse at the end of this year and will be embodied in the new tariff schedule, in which case changes can be made in a more simple manner.