HC Deb 09 December 1963 vol 686 cc6-7
8. Mr. Pentland

asked the Minister of Health if he will bring forward legislation to make provision under the National Health Service for a general practitioner to prescribe Complan for patients without being subject to surcharge.

Mr. Braine

No, Sir.

Mr. Pentland

I appreciate the difficulties involved, but the hon. Member is aware that some months ago I took up a case with his Department concerning a doctor in my constituency who had been surcharged a considerable sum of money because he prescribed something to a 17-year-old girl patient in order to save her life? In view of the harsh treatment meted out to this doctor and the distressing circumstances, of which the hon. Member is fully aware, will he have further investigations made into the matter with the object of returning the doctor's money?

Mr. Braine

I am always willing to look into any special case, but it is important to put on record what the position is. Under the Acts, a doctor may prescribe any drug or medicine which he considers necessary for a patient's treatment. He is not entitled to prescribe any preparation which is not in the circumstances of the case a drug, and Complan is specifically classified as a food and not a drug by the Standing Joint Committee on the Classification of Proprietary Preparations. Any case of doubt is referred to independent referees. It would be wrong for that very fair arrangement to be interfered with.