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Mentally Ill And Handicapped Persons (Drugs)

Volume 951: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps have been taken to evaluate the effects of use of drugs on the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped.

Since September 1971 all new drugs have been assessed for safety, quality and efficacy by the Committee on Safety of Medicines before approval for marketing has been given. While my Department commissions research related to the development of services for the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped, biomedical research is the responsibility of the Medical Research Council. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that the MRC supports a wide range of research on drugs in the treatment of mental illness. This includes basic work on the mechanism of action of psychotropic drugs, as well as clinical assessments of new antipsychotic agents. The council currently supports a multi-centre national trial of lithium therapy for preventing the recurrence of depressive attacks, and also supports various studies on drugs used for the treatment of the schizophrenias.