HC Deb 14 April 1970 vol 799 cc228-9W
Mr. Roebuck

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what requests he has received from regional hospital boards to conduct experiments in the use of child-safe medical containers; and whether he will make a statement;

(2) what is the result of the studies he has made into the question of pharmacists issuing certain medicines in child-safe containers; and whether he will make a statement.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Hospital authorities do not require permission to conduct experiments in the use of child-safe medical containers, but I am aware of one which is considering doing so. On the information at present available, I am not satisfied that in use child-resistant containers provide a safeguard that would justify bringing them into general use in the National Health Service.

Different measures to deal with the problem of accidental poisoning of children are in hand. First, the Department and the Scottish Home and Health Department are meeting the full cost of a study by the Medical Care Research Unit of the Institute of Community Studies into medicines kept in the home, including their storage and disposal. The main field work has been completed and is being analysed.

Secondly, the Health Education Council has formulated research proposals on home accidents including accidental poisonings, and is preparing a television filmlet explaining for the benefit of mothers of young children the hazards of leaving tablets within their reach.

Thirdly, my Department is reviewing a range of other measures, including educational activity, such as the Pharmaceutical Society's experience of "Medicines with Care" exhibitions and local campaigns against hoarding medicines; straight publicity material such as warning on medicine containers; and the wider use of certain forms of protective packaging. A number of organisations including the Health Education Council, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and bodies representative of the pharmaceutical profession and industry have been invited to contribute information and views on measures which are practicable and likely to be effective.