§ Mr. Amess
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what amount of Government funding, either directly or indirectly, has been invested in research into the cause and cures of hay fever; and what information he has as to how much has been spent by private industry over the last five years.
§ Mr. Brooke
The Medical Research Council is the main Government agency for the support of biomedical research, including research on hay fever. In the financial year 1982–83 the Council spent approximately £705,000 on research projects directly and indirectly related to hay fever. Research into hay fever may also be carried out in universities and medical schools using funds provided for teaching and research allocated on advice from the University Grants Committee, but I cannot say what the total cost of such research may be. Information is not collected on the amount invested by private industry either directly or through support of the medical research charities.
§ Mr. Brooke
I understand from the Medical Research Council that in the last five years there have been a number of advances in the treatment of hay fever offering patients better relief from this condition, for example:
- (i) The new antihistamine drugs which do not cause drowsiness so that people can now continue to drive and work machinery.
- (ii) Cortisone steroids can now be given as a nasal spray.
- (iii) Better vaccines which are more effective and which may have fewer side-effects.