§ Mr. Stainton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the fact that trials at the Maudsley hospital have established that the use of nicotine chewing gum can double the chances of successfully giving up tobacco, he will reverse his previous decision and permit such gum to be obtained on National Health Service prescription.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
As I explained in my reply of 13 November to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short)—[Vol. 12, c.188]—this is not a matter for Ministerial decision. The advisory committee on borderline substances—which is an independent body—has made recommendations which are advisory on the medical profession.
The committee has made clear that it would be willing to reconsider the matter if new evidence became available, 277W and I am sure it will study the results of the trials to which my hon. Friend refers, as well as those of other trials which I understand will be completed shortly.