§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if there is evidence of any relationship between the incidence of reports to the Committee on Safety of Medicines of adverse reactions to a drug and the account of (a) general publicity, (b) publicity in the medical press and (c) publicity from publications of the Committee on Safety of Medicines regarding the possibility that the drug may cause an adverse reaction;
(2) pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South on 9 July, whether the Committee on Safety of Medicines is aware of the percentage of adverse reaction reports that are investigated; if not, if he will request it to ascertain the figure, to publish it in the Official Report and to give an indication of the proportion that is investigated by (a) telephone, (b) correspondence and (c) one of the committee's part-time medical officers in the field;
(3) pursuant to his reply on 9 July to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, if he will give the evidence which leads him to be satisfied that generally doctors give proper attention to communications from the Committee on Safety of Medicines; and who raised objections, and what they were, to the proposal to mark envelopes containing adverse reaction materials with a distinctive symbol.
§ Mr. Patrick Jenkin
No figures are available but there is a general impression that publicity of all kinds can lead to an increase in the number of adverse reactions reports received by the Committee on Safety of Medicines. Publicity about individual drugs in the media often seems to provoke a large but temporary increase in reports about these drugs. Reminders by the committee to doctors to report reactions to drugs however appear to result in a smaller but sustained increase in the number of reports received.
It is evidence of this kind combined with the fact that doctors are members of a responsible profession which leads me to believe, in the absence of any informa- 214W tion to the contrary, that doctors do generally give proper attention to communications from the committee.
The proposal to mark envelopes containing adverse reactions material was not pursued owing to pressure of other work. It will be given further consideration as soon as possible. The committee is not aware of the percentage of adverse reactions reports which are followed up in various ways and has not asked for such figures. In the circumstances, I can see no purpose in asking the committee to ascertain the information suggested by the right hon. Gentleman.