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Volume 395: debated on Thursday 2 December 1943

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asked the Minister of Health whether he has any information to convey to the House concerning patulin; and whether this drug is being tested on a large scale?

An account of the discovery of patulin, and of its chemical nature and anti-bacterial properties, has been published in the medical Press by Professor H. Raistrick of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and his colleagues. Their paper also gives the results of preliminary trials of the use of patulin in the treatment of the common cold, including some which were made in the Navy. The results of similar trials made in the Army have since been briefly published by three officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. The Medical Research Council have now accepted an invitation to undertake the organisation of controlled clinical trials on a considerable scale, and arrangements are in hand for instituting these immediately. For the time being the use of patulin in the treatment of the common cold must be regarded as still in the experimental stage. The preliminary trials have not given consistent results, although some of these have been promising, and it is uncertain what value the drug will eventually prove to have. It will necessarily take some months to collect adequate information on this point, and as regards the best methods of administration, the proper dosage, and the conditions under which the drug can be used with safety. It would be inadvisable to take steps to make patulin generally available until there is sufficient evidence on these questions.