HC Deb 14 February 1966 vol 724 cc903-4
9. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health if he will state for each of the three years ended 31st December, 1965, the cost to the National Health Service of the drug tetracycline, specifying this expenditure in terms of supplies from patentees or licensees and the supplies from other sources.

Mr. K. Robinson

As the Answer contains a number of figures, I will with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the information:

Supplies from Patentee or Licensees (approximate) Supplies from other sources* (approximate)
£ £
1963 3,540,000 118,000
1964 3,400,000 102,000
1965 (to 30th September) 2,390,000 72,000
* The cost of supplies from other sources is subject to the negotiation of royalties.

10. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Health if he will state in respect of supplies of tetracycline to the National Health Service why he has not continued to invoke Section 46 of the Patent Act in respect of patentees and licensees in view of the fact that these patentees and licensees are supplying the drugs at approximately £45 per 1,000 tablets as compared with contractors to the Ministry of Health, who were supplying it at £4 per 1,000.

Mr. K. Robinson

The patentee and the principal licensee offered to negotiate the prices to be charged for tetra cycline to hospitals concurrently with price negotiations under the voluntary price regulation scheme for supplies to the pharmaceutical service. Negotiations are proceeding.

Mr. Parker

Would it not be possible for the drug manufacturers to offer their products at lower prices if they did not spend as much as £9 million on sales promotion?

Mr. Robinson

The question of sales promotion is under consideration by the Sainsbury Committee. The negotiations take into account the cost of tetracycline to the National Health Service as a whole and I hope that this will lead to a satisfactory overall saving to the Exchequer.