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Mastitis (Cure Claim)

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why a registered medical practitioner, who claims to have a cure for mastitis and has made offers to his Department, is not allowed to demonstrate this cure without submitting in advance information which might prejudice a fair examination of the claim; and if he will take steps to remedy this situation.

The medical practitioner referred to is free to demonstrate his alleged cure for mastitis, but it plainly cannot receive official backing until it has been thoroughly tested by impartial scientific experts. For this purpose details and methods of treatment require to be disclosed. I cannot accept the suggestion that disclosure of this information in advance might prejudice a fair examination of his claim.

The right hon. Gentleman will have in mind that Dr. Jenner had the same difficulty in impressing the value of his cure upon officialdom in his day?

Yes, Sir, except that today, of course, we have scientific methods of testing cures that were not in existence in those days.

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken on the evidence submitted to the Milk Committee of Inquiry for Scotland, showing that the milk output might be increased by 15 per cent.; and if any investigation is being made of the validity of this evidence.

I assume that the evidence to which the hon. Member refers was that submitted to the Committee by the medical practitioner mentioned in the hon. Member's Question to which I have just replied, and was based on his claim to have found a cure for mastitis. I have accordingly nothing to add to what I have already said on this matter.

Is it not the case that this reputable medical practitioner is prepared to have experiments made at his own expense, if the Department do not insist on disclosing the formula in advance?

The Department has to be rather careful. There are a lot of people who think they are wonderful inventors. We have to be rather careful how far people can experiment without getting scientific approval.

Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest that the scientific dignity of the Department is more important than a cure for mastitis?

Is not the disclosure of the nature of a remedy the necessary hall-mark of a reputable medical practitioner?

Yes, Sir, and in some cases where private practitioners are involved the Department has to be rather careful.