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Drug Side Effects

Volume 264: debated on Friday 20 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to include drug side effect and interaction information with all drugs dispensed by a pharmacist. [37236]

There is a statutory requirement for manufacturers of medicines to fulfil United Kingdom regulations for labelling medicines and providing patient information leaflets. A leaflet provides information on all aspects of a medicine including side effects and interactions. All newly authorised medicines require leaflets; for those medicines already on the market, leaflets are being phased in over the next three years through the introduction of patient packs for medicines containing a quantity of medicine appropriate for a course of treatment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that all general practitioners and hospitals have access to computer systems which give warnings of drug side effects and interactions. [37237]

Requirements for accreditation of general practitioner computer systems have been developed and publicised to general practitioner computer suppliers. These set out standards for a drug database listing side effects and interactions.Computerised prescribing systems are at an early stage of development within hospitals. However, information on drug side effects and interactions is widely available through free issue of the British national formulary, product data sheets, and other local prescribing publications to all hospital doctors and pharmacists. Hospital pharmacists provide a further check by reviewing prescriptions prior to dispensing medicines.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has for the issuing of a steroid warning card to patients on steroid treatment. [37238]

Department of health guidance that steroid warning cards should be issued to patients on steroid treatments has been in issue for many years. In addition, the British National Formulary, published every six months jointly by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, contains advice on the need for and use of the card. Copies of the British National Formulary are issued free of charge to all national health service doctors and community pharmacists.