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Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on (a) the causes of hayfever and (b) the possible links between hayfever and asthma. [119864]

The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC). In 2001–02, MRC expenditure on its respiratory disorders portfolio was an estimated £11.9 million, which included work on allergies and asthma, but not specifically on hayfever.There is no ongoing research in the Department of Health into hayfever, but the Department commissioned a study on air pollution and general practitioner consultations for allergic rhinitis (hayfever) from St. George's Hospital, London, as part of its last air pollution and health research programme. The study (by Hajal

et at) was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (volume 153, page 704) in 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent on treating hayfever sufferers in each of the last five years. [119866]

The information requested is not centrally available. The table shows information on the net ingredient costs of products for the treatment of hayfever dispensed in the community in England from 1998 to 2002.