§ Mr. George Cunningham
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what deficiencies exist in the supply of Factor VIII (cryoprecipitate) for the treatment of haemophilia; and what action she proposes to take to deal with the problem.
§ Dr. Owen
The amount of Factor VIII materials, including cryoprecipitate, produced within the National Health Service is not sufficient and, in particular, there is an immediate need to provide more human anti-haemophilic globulin concentrate—AHG concentrate—which is now the preferred treatment for haemophilic patients. There is also an increasing demand for certain other blood fractions.
At present part of the demand for AHG concentrate is being met by imported material, but this is very expensive 393W and, for reasons which I well understand, health authorities feel they cannot afford to buy as much as they would wish to, given the various claims on their resources.
I believe it is vitally important that the National Health Service should become self-sufficient as soon as practicable in the production of Factor VIII, including AHG concentrate. This will stop us being dependent on imports and make the best-known treatment more readily available to people suffering from haemophilia. I have, therefore, authorised the allocation of special finance to boost our own production with the objective of becoming self-sufficient over the next few years.