§ Mrs. Ellman
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria will be taken into account in the re-negotiation of the Pharmaceutical Pricing Scheme. 
§ Mr. Milburn
The approach taken in the negotiations on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme is governed by the principles which drive all of our programme for the National Health Service—promoting the nation's health and providing comprehensive, high quality health care for patients. Within that framework we have a responsibility to see that public money is spent effectively, and to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to produce new and improved medicines at reasonable prices.
§ Mr. Redwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action she is proposing to take to ensure a fully competitive market in supplying drugs to the NHS. 
§ Mr. Milburn
A number of factors impede the operation of a fully competitive market in some parts of the pharmaceutical sector. Intellectual property protection, necessary so that research and development can be carried out, means that there is often only one medicine appropriate to a particular condition. A competitive market flourishes where patents have expired and generic medicines are available; where this does not occur, alternative arrangements like the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme are needed.92W