HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc85-6W
Captain Kerby

asked the Minister of Health if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the text of his letter to M. Maroselli with regard to his decision not to accept the French poliomyelitis vaccine offered to him by the Institut Pasteur last autumn.

1957 Mr. Walker-Smith

The text is as follows:

th September,

My dear Sécrétaire d'Etat

I write to thank you for your letter of 23rd instant regarding the decision of my Ministry not to avail itself of the opportunity of obtaining a supply of anti-polio vaccine from the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

I should like to express to you my very sincere regret that our decision should have caused misunderstanding and I hope that what I have to say will correct the misapprehensions which would appear to have arisen from the letter which was sent to Mr. Edelman following the visit of our doctors to Paris.

As you point out in your letter, no direct offer of vaccine was made to the Ministry of Health by the Institut Pasteur, but we were informed by Mr. Edelman that the Institut was in a position to supply vaccine sufficient to vaccinate 20,000–25,000 children in his constituency. We thereupon made arrangements through your Ministry to send two of our doctors to confer with the Institut. I should like to make it quite clear that the purpose of this visit was a strictly limited one. Our immediate problem was that the licensing of a vaccine for use in this country is governed by the provisions of our Therapeutic Substances Act, and it was in that context that our enquiry was made and that my predecessor's decision was reached. This was the consideration to which our doctors had to address their minds, and I should like to express my very keen appreciation of the readiness of the Pasteur Institut to make freely available to them all the necessary technical information to enable them to carry out their mission. It was only because they found that in certain respects the French criteria did not coincide with the requirements laid down in our regulations that the decision was taken, with much reluctance, against the use of the Institut's vaccine in this country as things now are.

I am sure that you will feel, as I do, that in the present rapid progress of developments in this field, techniques, both in manufacture and testing, are bound to vary in different countries. I am asking our experts, and particularly those who visited the Institut Pasteur on this occasion and profited so much from their visit, to continue to study the various technical points which you raise in your letter. I hope very much that these may be the subject of further consultation with your experts and those of the Pasteur Institut at an early date, because I can assure you of my determination to explore all possibilities and profit from all experience in a sphere affecting so vitally the well-being of our people.

In renewing the expression of my regret at the misunderstanding which has arisen as a result of the decision taken, I should like to assure you, Monsieur le Sécrétaire d'État, of my deep appreciation of the readiness of the Institut Pasteur to help us by making a supply of their vaccine available to us and of their whole-hearted co-operation with our medical officers who visited them.

Yours sincerely,


Monsieur A. Maroselli,

Sécrétariat d'Etat à la Santé Publique et à la Population,

7, Rue de Tilsitt (XVIIe),


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