HC Deb 03 November 1944 vol 404 cc1104-5W
Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can make a statement on the development of penicillin production and supply in the Empire.

Mr. Emrys-Evans

As regards the production of penicillin in the United Kingdom, I would refer to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply in reply to Questions by the hon. Member for Yardley (Mr. Salt) on 11th October. Production of penicillin, other than at the experimental stage, in parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire other than the United Kingdom, is at present confined to Canada and the Commonwealth of Australia. There are two Government plants and one privately owned plant engaged on production in Canada and the output of all these is used exclusively to meet the requirements of Canada's armed forces. Limited quantities, secured from commercial producers in the United States, are available for distribution to the civilian population and are sold for this purpose at fixed prices to hospitals across Canada. Distribution is under the direct control of the Chemical Controller.

In the Commonwealth of Australia penicillin is produced at the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. Production began in January of this year and since May has been sufficient to cover not only the full requirements of the Commonwealth armed forces but also to permit of distribution to the civilian population on a limited but increasing scale. It is hoped soon to increase production still further. The Commonwealth of Australia has also been able to make some supplies available to New Zealand, where there is at present no local production, although the matter is under consideration.

Supplies are imported into the Union of South Africa to meet the requirements of the armed forces and very limited quantities for civilian use have recently also been imported, from which a quota is being allocated to hospitals in all the large centres in the Union.