Mr. John M. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received regarding a constituent of the hon. Member for Solihull, Miss Nancy Hood, of Beechwood Park road in Solihull, and her need for the drug thalidomide; and what steps he will take to ensure its availability to her;
(2) if he will make a statement regarding the sources of availability of the drug thalidomide as a treatment for certain skin ailments.
§ Mrs. Currie
[holding answer 21 January 1988]: No product licences under the Medicines Act for thalidomide tablets are held in the United Kingdom. Two sources of the unlicensed medicine are available: the West German 361W orginators who impose supply requirements which are not possible to comply with and a Brazilian manufacturer whose product is of unknown quality and related safety. The Department is willing to conduct tests in which the Brazilian product is compared with that produced by the originator. If Miss Hood's doctor is satisfied with the results of these tests he would be able to obtain a sufficient supply to treat her on his own responsibility in accordance with the provisions of sections 9(1) and 13(1) of the Medicines Act 1968 and the Medicines (Exemption from Licences) (Importation) Order 1984.