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Volume 116: debated on Friday 15 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 15 December, Official Report, column 412, what information he has about the level of charges made by clinics for condoms supplied without prescription (a) in London and (b) nationally; what is his estimate of the number of such clinics (i) in London and (ii) nationally which supply condoms free of charge; and what percentage of the total this represents.

We do not hold information centrally on the charges made by individual clinics. However, our guidance to health authorities advises that the charge for non-medical methods of contraception supplied without prescription should reflect the purchase price paid by the health authority plus 10 per cent. for handling expenses, and VAT. Bulk purchasing arrangements are made by individual health authorities. One company's price list for health authority orders ranges from £8·89 per gross to £16·61 per gross depending on type of condom and size of order.We are not aware that any health authorities have departed from our guidance that all forms of contraceptive appliances should be provided free of charge if prescribed.