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Contraceptive Sheaths

Volume 888: debated on Monday 17 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will take action following the report of the Monopolies Mergers Commission that in 1974 a British manufacturing firm sold on the home market 842,000 gross of contraceptive sheaths at a profit on sales of 43 per cent.

The commission's figure of 43 per cent. for profit on home sales related to the year ending 31st March 1973. I announced on 6th February the action I intended to take and at my request the Office of Fair Trading is in touch with the manufacturer concerned with a view to obtaining undertakings to reduce prices as the commission recommended.

Does my hon. Friend realise that since 10th February when he announced that the Director-General of Fair Trading was being asked to do something, about 80,000 gross of these things have been sold, presumably at a profit of 43 per cent.? How long is this concession to be allowed to this company?

There are certain statutory procedures which have to be completed before we can bring forward an order under the Fair Trading Act. I am deeply conscious of the point that my hon. Friend makes. I am sure he will be glad to know that there is to be a meeting with the company concerned and the Office of Fair Trading at the end of this week.