HL Deb 26 January 1999 vol 596 cc141-2WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are looking into the situation revealed in the Answer by the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Rooker, on 30 July 1998 (HC Deb. col. 523) concerning work done in the United Kingdom on behalf of overseas clients on pesticides; and whether the biological and chemical warfare implications of this situation are being examined. [HL436]

Lord Donoughue

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and other relevant departments have made further inquiries into the research reported in the press last summer and have been assured that it was conducted in accordance with the international guidelines which govern human volunteer studies. Through the operation of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the COSHH Regulations and the national and international protocols (such as the Declaration of Helsinki and the guidelines issued by the Royal College of Physicians) which apply in this area, there is a control system in place which aims to ensure that the safety of the volunteers is protected in the same way as anyone else who may be exposed to chemicals in the course of their work. Doctors involved in such research who do not comply with the Royal College's guidelines would be liable to a charge of serious professional misconduct.

The studies in question were performed for overseas clients to support a registration in the United States for a pesticide product. Given the nature of these studies and the level of dose involved the Government do not consider that the work has specific biological or chemical warfare implications.