§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many patients have died as a result of taking the drug Flenac for arthritis; why supplies have not been withdrawn from chemists; and why similar drugs are still available on the market.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The Committee on Safety of Medicines has received seven reports of deaths associated with Flenac. However, a report does not necessarily establish a causal relationship between the product and the reaction. Doctors have been advised by the company of the product's withdrawal. Stocks will, however, remain available in chemists for dispensing until 21 July to give doctors time to transfer patients currently taking the product to new therapy. Other drugs in the same therapeutic class as Flenac remain on the market because there is a need for them in the treatment of arthritis and other disabling conditions and their therapeutic benefits are judged to outweigh any risks they might carry.