§ Mr. Coombs
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) of 12 June, what evidence he has as to the incidence of breaches of or infringement against the codes of practice relating to clinical research practised on sick or premature babies without parental consent or knowledge; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
We are aware of the recent report of the working group of the Institute of Medical Ethics on medical research on children. I understand that the study was not set up because the institute had reason to believe 149W that unethical or harmful research was being undertaken into children in the United Kingdom. However, the report did suggest that certain breaches of existing codes of practice may be taking place, but no direct evidence has been brought to my attention. We will take the working group's report into account in considering the need for renewed departmental guidance on this subject.