HC Deb 18 May 1976 vol 911 cc512-3W
Mrs. Joyce Butler

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the additional departmental staff who will be required in the administration of the proposed restrictions upon advertising medicinal products to the public; how many such products he estimates will require repackaging and revised labelling to comply with the proposed Regulations; and what is the estimated cost to the National Health Service of the public obtaining them on prescription instead of buying them over the counter.

Dr. Owen

My Department is consulting interested parties about proposals for regulations under the Medicines Act which are concerned with the promotion of medicinal products to the public for the treatment of certain serious diseases or conditions considered unsuitable for self diagnosis or self medication. I do not expect that implementation of these proposals would lead to any increase in the staffing of the Department. It is thought that only a small proportion of medicinal products advertised to the public would be affected. The extent of any consequential relabelling or repackaging would, however, depend on the decisions made in the light of consultation about the eventual form of the regulations and on the arrangements made by the companies concerned as to the future marketing of their products. The products affected could continue to be sold over the counter provided that their labelling is in accordance with the regulations. The point raised in the last part

of the Question does not, therefore, seem to arise.