HC Deb 20 July 1959 vol 609 cc850-1
28 and 29. Mr. Abse

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether, in view of the dangerous effects of taking the drug preludine, he will include this drug upon the schedule of drugs which may be sold only on medical prescription;

(2) whether he will cause an inquiry to be made as to the physical and mental effects upon persons who take the drug preludine; and if he will publish a report on the findings.

30 and 31. Mr. W. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Health (1) what representations he has received, and from whom, regarding the unrestricted sale by chemists of the drug preludine without the need for medical prescription; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what evidence he has of addiction to the drug preludine and its effects upon persons taking preludine tablets; and what action he proposes to take to control its sale.

Mr. Walker-Smith

I have received representations from an hon. Member and one other person about the use of this drug. It is among those which are being considered by the Interdepartmental Committee on Drugs of Addiction in relation to its habit-forming characteristics.

Mr. Abse

Is the Minister aware that this drug, which is being sold as slimming tablets in chemists' shops throughout the country, has already precipitated at least one murder and many acts of violence, all of which are known to the police and to the prison medical authorities? Does he not think that he should take immediate action, or is he waiting for another murder to be committed before he takes the action required?

Mr. Walker-Smith

There is nothing about murder in any of these four Questions, and I am not aware of the facts adduced by the hon. Member in that regard. In general, however, apart from the Committee to which I have referred, I am considering whether there is need for some further measure of control of drugs which do not come within the scope of the Dangerous Drugs Act, nor are poisons, but the indiscriminate use of which may entail risk.

Dr. Summerskill

As I believe this drug was produced by a non-British firm, can the Minister say whether the clinical trials were conducted in this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

Not without notice, but I will make inquiry for the right hon. Lady.