HC Deb 04 December 1973 vol 865 cc1072-3
12. Mr. Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to make it compulsory for drug companies to include on the label of proprietary medicines and tablets a warning if the product is likely to affect the ability to drive.

Sir K. Joseph

The Poisons Rules already require medicines containing certain antihistamines commonly used in travel sickness remedies to be labelled Caution. This may cause drowsiness. If affected, do not drive or operate machinery". In the case of a prescribed medicine that may impair ability to drive, it is the doctor's responsibility to warn his patient of the danger.

Mr. Ewing

Will the Secretary of State keep a much more open mind on this subject than he has done hitherto? I do not say that in a derogatory sense. However, clear evidence is now emerging that more and more drivers are being convicted after having taken drugs which they were unaware would affect them when driving. The motoring organisations are very concerned about this development.

Sir K. Joseph

The Government are advised by experts on the Medicines Commission. A committee is at present considering the scope of the warnings prescribed by the Poisons Rules. If the hon. Gentleman sends me any evidence of which he is aware, I will put it to the committee.

Mr. Molloy

Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to consider the resolution passed at the Council of Europe on this subject to see whether he should support it when it goes to the Council of Ministers?

Sir K. Joseph

I shall certainly look at it.