HC Deb 15 January 1985 vol 71 cc179-80
11. Mr. Waller

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations he has received about his proposals to limit the range of drugs prescribed under the National Health Service.

Mr. Fowler

I have received representations from a wide range of individuals and organisations on both the principle and the detail of the scheme. Consultations are continuing on the content of the limited list, which will be finalised next month.

Mr. Waller

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while there is considerable support for the concept of substituting generic preparations for brand name drugs, the idea of having a limited list whereby certain drugs are not available at all on the National Health Service is quite another matter? Will he set his face resolutely against a system whereby a general practitioner has to consider the means of a patient before considering what prescription to write?

Mr. Fowler

We are not seeking to introduce some kind of two-tier system as has been suggested by some highly misleading advertisements of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which I greatly deplore. Let me tell my hon. Friend that my chief medical officer and a team of independent advisers are examining all the drugs that could be on the list. We always made it clear that we would undertake this consultation and that the list was provisional. If we find a branded drug for which there is no adequate alternative, it will remain available for prescription.