HC Deb 12 March 1986 vol 93 cc522-3W
Mr. Ian Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) why the blood products laboratory at Elstree continues to manufacture and supply radioisotopic immune assays for hepatitis B surface antigen to the blood transfusion service, despite the availability of non-isotopic kits similar to those now being used for the testing of acquired immune deficiency syndrome;

(2) whether he is satisfied that funds currently being used within the National Health Service for the manufacture of radioisotopic immune-assays for hepatitis B could not be more effectively employed in areas not adequately covered by the private biotechnology sector.

Mr. Hayhoe

The Department's circular, HC(83)3, states that health authorities should not engage in the manufacture of such products unless there is no suitable commercial alternative, or unless it is significantly cheaper to do so. I have no evidence that this policy is not being generally observed. The policy applies to the Central Blood Laboratories Authority which is responsible for the blood products laboratory at Elstree. Regional transfusion centres are free to use whatever products they consider are safe, suitable and cost-effective whether manufactured by a health authority or the private sector.

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