HC Deb 30 April 1968 vol 763 cc984-5
20. Mr. Jopling

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the evidence, details of which have been sent to him, given to a Senate Sub-Committee in Washington of the danger to health, and of deaths being caused by slimming pills; and what evidence he has of similar problems being met in this country.

Mr. Snow

Yes, Sir. The main hazard in this country is possible misuse of or habituation to preparations containing amphetamines and related compounds. My Department has recently drawn doctors' attention specifically to the potential dangers presented by the amphetamines.

Mr. Jopling

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the United States, where these deaths have been reported, clinics exist for slimming, in which doctors specialise, and that there is very little to prevent doctors from doing much the same here and dishing out these most dangerous drugs on prescriptions to anyone who cares to call?

Mr. Snow

At present, we have no up-to-date, reliable breakdown of the use to which amphetamines prescribed have been used. The Standing Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence intends to consider the problems associated with the use of amphetamines.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Would my hon. Friend say whether over the last few years there has been an increase or decrease in the amount of amphetamines prescribed in this country?

Mr. Snow

No; I have not that information.

Mr. Cronin

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind that being substantially over-weight is also a dangerous disease and that this is a much more serious consideration than the infrequent dangers of amphetamine drugs?

Mr. Snow

So my hon. Friend told me three years ago.