asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in light of the view of the United States Department of Health that the following drugs, which are available in the United Kingdom, have not proved their efficiency: Alevaire (Winthrop), Chymoral (Armour Pharmaceuticals), Dibenyline (Smith, Klein, French), Equagesic (Wyeth), Orthoxine (Upjohn), Priscol (Cita-Geigy), Ronicol and Ronicol Timespan (Roche) and Butazoladin-Alka (Cita-Geigy), if he will publish in the Official Report details of how many prescriptions for each drug were issued by doctors in the most recent convenient year, the unit cost for each drug in that year, and the total cost to the National Health Service for each drug in that year; and if he will withdraw them from use by the National Health Service.
These products were licensed under sections 16 and 25 of the Medicines Act 1968, which provided an entitlement to registration without assessment of safety, quality or efficacy for products established on the market before licensing became effective in September 1971. All these prescription-only products will be fully assessed during the general review of medicines. In common with other analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs Butazolidin-Alka and Equagesic are now under active review. Information about prescriptions and sales of individual medicines is confidential. Doctors in the National Health Service are free to prescribe medicines they consider clinically necessary for their patients.