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Drug Trials

Volume 950: debated on Wednesday 24 May 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether, in the light of the comments in Volume 16, Number 5, 3rd March 1978, of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, he will disallow the cost of the Winthrop benorylate compliance study to count as research expenditure under the terms of the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme;(2) what steps he currently takes to assess whether commercially-sponsored projects involving general practitioners in prescribing a particular drug company's products for reward are scientifically sound and ethically proper;(3) whether he will take steps to prevent general practitioners from taking part in projects involving the prescription of drugs to their patients for reward, where the scientific value is exceeded by the commercial benefit to the drug company concerned.

I refer my hon. Friend to the general statement on clinical trials in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt) on 22nd March.—[Vol. 946, c. 603.]Where a clinical trial is in accordance with the relevant product licence my Department's inquiries are directed to the question of whether any payments made to the practitioner are commensurate with the work entailed. Any suggestion of payments in excess of this would be taken up as a possible breach of the Code of Practice of the Pharmaceutical Industry.The information about the study of benorylate does not suggest that objections could be raised to the study on these grounds and I am advised that the trial could be justified as a basis for obtaining clinical data.