§ Mr. Hanson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what research his Department has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the effectiveness of the drug CPT-II in combating bowel cancer; 
(2) what is the cost of a course of treatment for CPT-II; 
(3) which health authorities currently allow the supply of CPT-II to cancer patients. 
§ Ms Jowell
CPT-II is the manufacturer's code name for a chemotherapy drug, Irinotecan hydrochloride which this year acquired a product licence from the Medicines Control Agency. While the Department of Health does not undertake research into new drugs prior to licensing, the Medicines Control Agency assesses the research evidence relating to their quality, safety and efficacy before licensing. The dose of CPT-II is adjusted for the size of patient; the cost of one dose is £830 on average and some patients may have up to six doses, at intervals of three weeks.
The drug came on the market only three months ago. Further research is underway to assess its role in comparison with current standard treatment and many doctors will await the outcome of this research before deciding whether to use this drug. For these reasons, it is too early to derive meaningful information on where the drug is being provided. The decisions on whether to use any drug takes into consideration the medical details of the individual patient and evidence as to whether the patient is likely to benefit.