HC Deb 04 December 1961 vol 650 cc925-6
49 and 50. Mr. Mathew

asked the Minister of Health (1) how many controlled clinical experiments in the interests of medical research have been carried out on mentally subnormal children in the last 12 months; and

(2) what experiments with the new measles vaccine, tested in this country on severely mentally subnormal children, have been carried out; and if any of the vaccinated subjects suffered ill effects, other than the contraction of measles.

Mr. Powell

A measles vaccine was given to a group of patients at the Fountain Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton, before an anticipated outbreak of measles. There were no ill effects apart from the reactions of modified measles. Otherwise, I am not aware of any controlled clinical experiments apart from those connected with research into subnormality.

Mr. Mathew

Will my right hon. Friend not agree that if these experiments are to be carried out at all, and in a number of cases there have been very undesirable side effects such as high fever, preferably they should be carried out on volunteers rather than on mentally defective children?

Mr. Powell

The parents had been asked and gave consent in writing. Subnormal children are particularly liable to measles and, therefore, this test was particularly relevant to subnormal children.

Captain Elliot

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have discussed this matter with the senior medical officer of this hospital and he has assured me that there were no bad side effects and the only thing suffered was a slight rise in temperature and a very slight measles rash?

Mr. Powell

That coincides with my information.