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Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health why he has decided to exclude one third millilitre syringes from the list of items available on prescription.

One third millilitre syringes have recently been introduced into the market in this country. Our view is that there is insufficient clinical demand for this product to be included in the list of appliances GPs may prescribe. We are keeping the matter under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) one third millilitre syringes, (b) one half millilitre syringes and (c) one millilitre syringes were issued on prescription for 1989, 1988, 1987 and 1986.

One third millilitre syringes have never been available on general practitioners' NHS prescriptions. Disposable syringes in one millilitre and one half millilitre sizes for use with U100 insulin became prescribable on 1 September 1987. Estimated prescribing figures in England are:

1 September to 31 December0·5ml10 million
1mlNot available
January to December0·5ml27·3 million
1ml4·9 million
January to June
(latest available data)0·5ml13·9 million
1ml5·4 million