§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions she had with ICI Pharmaceuticals prior to her announcement of the extended limited list system for national health service prescribing;
(2) what discussions she had with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry about possible alternative ways of reducing the NHS drug budget prior to her announcement of the extensions to the limited list system for national health service prescribing;
(3) what alternative methods of reducing the overall national health service drugs budget she considered prior to the recent announcement of the extensions to the limited list prescribing system; and why, in each case, those alternatives were rejected;
(4) what consultations she had with representatives of the Royal College of General Practitioners to discuss the medical implications of extending the limited list prescribing system to those categories which were included in her recent announcement.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The selected list scheme has been in place since 1985, and has helped to control the growth in the national health service drugs bill, without adverse effects on patient care. Extending the scope of the scheme to ten new therapeutic categories will not affect the basic structure of the scheme. As now, decisions on individual drugs will be taken on the basis of advice from the independent advisory committee on NHS drugs, comprising doctors, dentists and pharmacists appointed after consultation with relevant professional organisations, and after the manufacturers concerned have been given the opportunity of making representations to the Committee.
Advance consultation with professional organisations, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry or individual manufacturers on the proposal to extend the scope of the scheme was not therefore, in the Government's view, appropriate. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear in her announcement on 12 November, we intend to have discussions with the 145W pharmaceutical industry, and the medical and pharmaceutical professions, about the drugs bill, and we expect other possible ways of controlling overall expenditure to be considered in the course of those discussions.
§ Sir Michael Grylls
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement providing full details of representations which she received prior to the announcement of an extension to and adoption of the limited list prescribing system; and which representations specifically support the inclusion in that list of each of the new categories of product which will now be included in the system.