§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make it his policy that drug companies supplying drugs through the National Health Service should not seek to promote drugs directly to the consumer.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Regulations under the Medicines Act 1968 prohibit drug companies from advertising prescription-only medicines to the public. We can see no reason to prevent drug companies from advertising over-the-counter medicines which patients frequently buy direct from chemist shops and other retail outlets although they are often prescribable under the National Health Service. There are restrictions on the way in which over-the-counter medicines may be advertised.