HC Deb 19 April 1995 vol 258 cc214-5W
Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will enable general practitioners to prescribe evening primrose oil, and products containing it, as a treatment for arthritis; and if he will make a statement. [18985]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

There are no preparations containing evening primrose oil which hold a product license for the treatment of arthritis. Licensed versions are available only for the treatment of eczema and mastalgia. Where general practitioners consider that it is clinically appropriate they may prescribe a drug on a named patient basis for a use outside its licensed indication. However, drugs which are listed in schedule 10 of the National Health Service (General Medical Services) (Scotland) Regulations 1995 may not be prescribed under the NHS.

A number of unlicensed evening primrose products are available for general sale but are included in the list of items which general practitioners cannot prescribe under the NHS, on the recommendation of the independent Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances.