§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the recent decision by the Richardson-Merrel company to stop manufacturing the drug Debendox, he will ensure that all stocks of this drug are withdrawn from the market and general practitioners forthwith advised not to prescribe it.
§ Mr. John Patten
No. The Committee on Safety of Medicines has advised on a number of occasions that there is no acceptable scientific evidence to indicate that Debendox causes harm to the foetus which would justify action to prevent doctors prescribing this product. I understand that the company decided to cease production for commercial reasons arising from ill informed criticisms of the product and litigation particularly in the United States.