§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has examined the state law of Michigan, United States of America, which allows the automatic substitution of therapeutically identical cheaper drugs for branded drugs unless the doctor writes "dispense as written"; and what consideration he has given to introducing similar legislation in the United Kingdom;
(2) whether he will publish in the Official Report, from information available to him, a list of the States in the United States of America which have enacted legislation permitting substitution by pharmacists of cheaper equivalents for prescriptions for branded drugs; and if he plans to introduce similar legislation for the United Kingdom;
(3) what proportion of the 200 branded drugs, or the number for which information is available, most commonly prescribed in the United Kingdom have available cheaper substitutes.
§ Mr. Moyle
My Department does not maintain detailed records of other nations' domestic legislation. The whole question of whether branded drugs and non-branded alternative versions may be considered therapeutically equivalent is at present a matter of debate within the medical and pharmaceutical professions both in the United Kingdom and the 323W United States of America. My professional advice is that alternative versions of brand name drugs are not necessarily therapeutically equivalent and therefore cannot automatically be regarded as substitutes. I am, accordingly, not satisfied on present information that legislation on the lines described by my hon. Friend would be appropriate.
§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in conjunction with the Committee on Safety of Medicines, he will publish a British equivalent of the New York State drug substitution formulary.