§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on(a) the production and (b) the availability of the hormone replacement drug premarin in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Sackville
Premarin is produced by the pharmaceutical industry using pregnant mares' urine, which is collected on farms in Canada and the United States of America, not in the United Kingdom. During that part of the pregnancy when oestrogen levels are high, the mares are' fitted with a lightweight harness. The collection device is attached to this and the urine drains into it. Both the Canadian and United States authorities have said that no mares are catheterised to collect urine, and have confirmed that all the farms satisfy their animal welfare concerns.
In the United Kingdom, medicinal products need to be licensed under the Medicines Act 1971. Before a product licence is granted, a company needs to satisfy the Licensing Authority of the product's safety, quality and efficacy. Premarin is licensed for use in the United Kingdom, and there are no grounds under the Medicines Act for withdrawing it from use.