asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what discussions he has had about an appeals mechanism for National Health Service prescription of scheduled drugs with representatives of pharmaceutical companies;(2) whether he has sought from the drug companies any undertaking that they will not seek directly or indirectly to subject decisions or appeals against refusals to prescribe drugs not on the limited list by whatever mechanism to judical review;
(3) what advice he will give committees determining applications to prescribe scheduled drugs on the National Health Service with a view to minimising the danger of their decisions being overturned by judicial review.
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to our offer to the British Medical Association of a locally based appeals mechanism if they believed it to be necessary to allow general practitioners to prescribe scheduled drugs in exceptional cases.We have had no discussions about these arrangements with pharmaceutical companies, who would not be a party to the appeals. The proposed local professional committees would be concerned solely with the clinical aspects of individual cases. Clinical decisions are not normally a matter for the courts.