§ Sir Bernard Braine
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any evidence of persons, especially the frail elderly, the very sick and chronically disabled, refusing to use child-resistant containers for medicines, or of damaging such containers in order to obtain their contents.
§ Mr. Moyle
My Department are aware of isolated cases where difficulty has been experienced by the elderly or disabled, but I believe that on the whole the arrangements are working satisfactorily. It is recognised, as I said during the consideration of the Medicines (Child Safety) Amendment Regulations 1976 in the First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments on 3rd November 1976—(c. 10–16)—that child resistant containers designed to protect children from accidental poisoning may present problems to some adults particularly the elderly and handicapped. It is for this reason that the regulations and the voluntary arrangement with pharmacy representatives allow for flexibility. This enables the pharmacist to use discretion to supply aspirin and paracetamol tablets in a conventional container if asked to by an adult, or if there is a possibility that the patient will have difficulty in opening a child-resistant container.