HC Deb 01 May 2003 vol 404 cc507-8W
Chris Grayling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to make drugs that substantially lower cholesterol available over the counter. [109088]

Ms Blears

The NHS Plan set out the Government's commitment to make more medicines available over the counter (OTC). The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been proactively encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to consider which medicines might be suitable to make more widely available as part of the MHRA's work to fulfil this commitment.

Any application to change the legal status of a particular medicine for lowering blood cholesterol will be carefully considered against the criteria for prescription-only status set out in European and United Kingdom legislation and would be subject to public consultation. Patient safety is the prime consideration and any application would be required to demonstrate its safety in use and that relevant patient and professional education issues have been adequately addressed.