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Gulf War: NAPS Tablets

Volume 706: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 9 October 2003 (WA 67–78), whether the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) was consulted or at any time involved in the decision not to include any restriction on co-administration in the instructions for the use of the nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets, each containing pyridostigmine bromide, used for troops deployed to the 1990–91 Gulf conflict; and whether they will now ask the CSM's successor, the Commission on Human Medicine, to review that decision further to the findings of the congressionallymandated United States Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War veterans' illnesses published on 17 November 2008. [HL530]

Details about the medical countermeasures used to protect British forces against nerve agents during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict were set out in the MoD document Background to the Use of Medical Countermeasures to Protect British Forces during the Gulf War (Operation GRANBY) published in October 1997, which is available in the Library of the House. The document sets out the background to the chemical and biological threats at the time and what the UK Government did to protect British forces. In relation to the use of nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets and the Committee on Safety of Medicines, it is necessary to research our records on the issue further prior to providing my noble friend with a substantive reply. I will write to my noble friend when I am in a position to do so and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.