HC Deb 20 March 1967 vol 743 cc1049-50
33. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Health if, in addition to the clinical requirements drug manufacturers have to submit to the Dunlop Committee before approval, he will further require them to submit costings to his Department before a new drug is prescribed for National Health Service patients.

Mr. K. Robinson

I propose to await the report of the Sainsbury Committee before considering whether any extension of the present arrangements for examination of costs and profits is desirable.

Mr. Pavitt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in commercial enterprises if a marketing company takes all the production of a single factory it does so after strict costings and drives a hard bargain? Would my right hon. Friend look into this matter when he gets the report with a view to doing the same thing, as the Health Service is often the prime consumer of drug factories' products?

Mr. Robinson

Certainly I will, but my hon. Friend knows that in the case of certain widely used products the voluntary price regulation scheme provides for direct negotiation between the firm and my Department and for an examination of the firm's costs and profits.

Mr. Braine

In view of the somewhat misleading nature of the Question, would the Minister confirm that the whole purpose of the voluntary price regulation scheme, which he himself renegotiated, is to determine whether the price is fair, reasonable and acceptable, making allowance for the investment in research? This surely is the present arrangement.

Mr. Robinson

I would remind the hon. Gentleman that it was not I who renegotiated the present scheme, but my predecessor. I agree that that is the purpose of the voluntary price regulation scheme, but I shall look at this and all other relevant matters when I have the report of the Sainsbury Committee.