To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to limit the supply of any vitamins and minerals by making them available only on prescription.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food gave my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Mr. Hague) on 27 February at column 611.A number of vitamin and mineral preparations are currently licensed medicines, some of which are already available only on prescription. There are a small number of essential vitamins and minerals sold as food supplements, which may have adverse effects when consumed in excess. We believe that, for these substances, safety concerns may indicate a need for limitations on the maximum freely available dose.A United Kingdom outline proposal for a possible EC directive notes that the relationship between supplements sold as foods and those sold as medicines, including medicines on general sale, may need to be addressed. It is not yet clear whether this will form part of any EC measure.