asked the Minister of Health to what extent there has been any marked decrease since 1st March, 1961, in the number of ferrous sulphate tablets dispensed to ante-natal clinic patients attending hospitals in the northwest metropolitan region.
Complete information is not available, but I understand that at some clinics the use of these tablets has been, or is being, discontinued.
Is the hon. Lady aware that one of the most frequent prescriptions which is dispensed is for eighty-four of these tablets, which is a prophylaxis against anaemia and, as a consequence, mothers are not aware of the medical desirability of this service? Is she aware that a thousand tablets cost 2s. and that by retailing eighty-four for 2s. a sum of 22s. is made on every 2s.-worth sold? Is not that profiteering?
The hon. Gentleman must have been misinformed, because 100 of these tablets would retail at 1s. 9½d. Though in the case of hospitals they cannot do other than make the standard charge of 2s., there is no reason why doctors should not advise patients to obtain the tablets privately.
Is the hon. Lady aware that hospitals purchase these tablets in prepacked cartons of a thousand for 2s.?
That is not the retail price.