§ Mr. Cronin
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the cost of 500 tablets of phenlybutazone when sold by a wholesaler to a chemist; and what is their cost when sold under the brand name of Butazolidin; and if he will give an approximate estimate of how much was spent by his Department on tablets prescribed as Butazolidin for any convenient recent one-year period;
(2) what is the cost of 500 tablets of imipramine when sold by a wholesaler to a chemist; what is their cost when sold under the brand name of Tofranil; and if he will give an approximate estimate of how much was spent by his Department on tablets prescribed as Tofranil for any convenient recent one-year period.
§ Mr. Ennals
The cost, wholesale, of 500 tablets of the most commonly prescribed presentation of phenylbutazone and Butazolidin (100 mg) is £1.60 and £6.70 respectively, and of imipramine and Tofranil (25 mg), £1.45 and £15.25.
Where a drug is available under both brand and generic names doctors are asked to prescribe the most economical alternative. Information about the comparative costs of selected preparations is provided to them and currently I am consulting the interested professions concerning ideas for improving the content and frequency of information to prescribers about drugs and drug costs.
My Department is at present considering the possibility of publishing figures of annual costs of individual preparations used in the National Health Service. In the meantime, we continue to treat information about the sales of named products as confidential between the Department and the manufacturer concerned