§ Mr. Fearn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy to introduce free prescriptions for asthmatics;
(2) if he will undertake to examine the feasibility of phasing out prescription charges on drugs used for potentially life-threatening complaints.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
There are no plans to extend the range of conditions which currently attract free prescriptions on medical grounds. There are already wide-ranging exemption arrangements, underpinned by the separate scheme for remission on the grounds of low income, which ensure that no one need be deterred from obtaining any necessary medication on financial grounds. Nearly 80 per cent. of NHS prescriptions items are currently dispensed free of charge.