§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the offer of incentives by Messrs. Merck Sharp and Dohn to general practitioners to prescribe their anti-hypotensive drugs on a quasi-experimental basis for 100,000 of their national health patients is consistent with their national health contracts; what these incentives are; what is his view of such promotional activity 1021W by drug companies; and what representations he has received on the subject from the British Medical Association and the Professors of Clinical Pharmacology.
§ Dr. Owen
I have asked for full details of the programme sponsored by Messrs. Merck, Sharp and Dohme to which my hon. Friend refers. In the meantime I understand that the participating general medical practitioners will receive a payment of £25 for their reports—or £10 and the gift of a sphygmomanometer.
I do not think it would be right for me to comment at this stage in this particular case, but in general certain kinds of research activity by general medical practitioners could involve a breach of their terms of service.
So far as I am aware my Department has not received any representations about the programme from either the British Medical Association or the Professors of Clinical Pharmacology.