§ Mr. Sayeed
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when, pursuant to his answer, 10 January,Official Report, column 614, the data bank containing the prices of medicines in each of the member states of the European Community will be completed; and if he will use it to obtain more competitive prices for drugs supplied to the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Mellor
The timing of the work on the data bank will be for the European Commission to decide. I understand that the Commission is considering to what extent they can make use of existing information held by Governments and other bodies, but it will inevitably take some years to cover all medicines available in the Community. Some comparative information may be available earlier. The extent to which any information can be used to influence negotiations on prices of medicines supplied to the NHS will be for consideration at the time.