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Natural Medicines

Volume 87: debated on Thursday 21 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which organisations his Department calls upon for advice about natural medicines.

The Department's main sources of advice are the Committee on the Review of Medicines and the Medicines Commission. In addition we have had helpful contact with professional bodies, trade associations and individual manufacturers of alternative medicines.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people in his Department have expertise in natural medicines.

The professional staff employed in the Department who are concerned with the licensing of medicines comprise doctors, pharmacists and scientists who apply their professional training and skills to questions of safety, efficacy and quality in relation to medicines of all descriptions. Their special expertise lies not in particular forms of treatment but in evaluation of whether the conditions for public sale or supply of medicines, under the provisions of the Medicines Act 1968, are met.As work on the licensing of alternative medicines increases a number of the Department's doctors, pharmacists and scientists become familiar with the particular problems of alternatve medicines in this licensing context. In addition, our Medicines Act committees include three members with expertise in the pharmacy of plants. These Committees are also able to call on additional advice from expert sources as necessary.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider setting up an advisory committee for natural medicines.

No as this matter has been considered and I endorse the conclusion that such an advisory committee is not required.