asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on her current proposals for the review of product licences for medicinal products already on the market.
We are presently considering the comments various interested parties have made on the proposals that were circulated last December for carrying out the review. Meanwhile we have started collecting the basic information that will be necessary for the review, and my Department has written to holders of product licences asking them to submit details of their products.We propose to divide all the products in question into categories according to the indications for which they are promoted. These categories of products will then be considered in turn by the staff of my Department, and the advice of the proposed new expert Committee on the Review of Medicines will be sought. We plan to have three categories under review at any one time, and it has now been decided that the first three categories will be as follows: (1) Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory preparations—that is products promoted for the treatment of rheumatism and similar conditions; (2) Analgesics; (3) Psychotropics, including preparations with sedative tranquillising or anti-depressant actions.These have been chosen on the basis of large usage, combined with a high degree of possible hazard. In all, these categories comprise some 4,000 different products, and I hope that consideration of the first categories will be well under way by the end of this year.I attach the greatest importance to carrying out the review as quickly as possible, and I have asked that, at the same time as the categories containing large numbers of products are reviewed, an assessment should be made of categories which contain fewer products but which present a particular problem of one sort or another. The first such small categories will be anabolic steroids, antibiotics for use in the ear or nose, and appetite suppressants and slimming aids.