HC Deb 23 April 1996 vol 276 c61W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people died as a result of paracetamol use and the use of compounds containing paracetamol in 1992 and for the five previous years. [26434]

Mrs. Angela Knight

The data are published for each year separately in table 10 of "Mortality statistics: injury and poisoning, England and Wales" series DH4, Nos. 13 to 18, copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

In table 10, the drugs are listed alphabetically, and when two or more drugs are listed together they are put under the drug which comes first alphabetically. Any such combination of drugs is not cross-referenced under the other drugs in the combination, so there is no double counting.

Since the principle of showing combinations of poisons is alphabetical, it therefore follows that no conclusions can be drawn concerning which drug, if any, played the major role. In addition, the inclusion of any substance in table 10 does not necessarily imply that it is toxic.

The listing of a substance on its own signifies that only that drug was mentioned on the death certificate. It does not therefore include those cases where the drug occurred in combination with other drugs.