HC Deb 16 December 1974 vol 883 c1112
25. Mr. Ioan Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will make a statement on her proposals to test advertising claims and to control false, misleading and wasteful advertising.

Mr. Alan Williams

Existing legislation, notably the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, gives the consumer substantial protection against misleading claims. As already announced, the Act's provisions are being reviewed. Meanwhile we are watching closely the steps the advertising industry is taking to strengthen its own system of control and whether further statutory controls will be necessary.

Mr. Evans

Does my hon. Friend agree that, at a time when we should be importing less and exporting more, we should look again at the increasing advertising by foreign manufacturers encouraging people to spend more? In particular will he examine the pharmaceutical industry, where people are being encouraged to buy medicines which are at best useless?

Mr. Williams

The Medicines Act and the Food and Drugs Act lay down certain requirements with regard to advertising in the pharmaceutical sector, and the Trade Descriptions Act gives additional protection. But if my hon. Friend, who I know follows these matters closely, lets me have examples of the specific abuses of which he complains, I shall gladly examine them.