HC Deb 12 December 1989 vol 163 cc626-7W
Mr. Beggs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will recognise the need for additional and adequate funding for research into the treatment of metabolic bone disease with particular reference to osteoporosis.

Mr. Freeman

The Department recognises the significance of research in this area and has recently agreed to fund an economic evaluation of hormone replacement therapy, which will look at its costs and benefits in relation to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

However, the main agency through which the Government fund medical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its grant-in-aid from the Department of Education and Science. The MRC has for some time been supporting a programme of clinical and basic research to encourage the development of more rational treatments for metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis. A number of areas are being explored. The MRC has also set up a sub-group of the physiological systems board to review the need for further research on osteoporosis. This group is examining in particular the feasibility of mounting a multicentre prospective trial of screening methods to identify at risk women who are likely to benefit from hormone replacement therapy.