§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of people who suffered from the adverse effects of the drug Eraldin; what steps he has taken to see whether all of them have been paid compensation; and what discussions he has had with the drug company concerned.
§ Dr. Vaughan
[pursuant to his reply, 11 March, 1981, c. 338]: On 1 February 198] the Committee on Safety of Medicines had received approximately 2,450 reports of suspected adverse reactions associated with practolol—Eraldin—including 40 referring to deaths. These figures should, however, be treated with caution in arriving at an estimate of the total number who may have suffered an adverse reaction because at least some of the reports refer to events which were coincidental to, and not caused by, treatment with the drug and also because some suspected adverse reactions may not have been recognised and reported.
Questions of compensation for damage allegedly caused by a specific drug are matters for the parties concerned. The Department is not involved and, therefore, since coming into office, neither I nor officials have had any discussions with the company—ICI Ltd.—about its compensation scheme. As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, ICI Ltd. established this scheme in 1975 to compensate those able to show that they had suffered permanent injury as a result of treatment with Eraldin. I understand that by 1 July last year over 2,600 claims had been received; payments have been accepted in some 1,300 cases, offers of compensation are outstanding in about 30 cases, 200 claims are still being considered and over 1,000 have been rejected because medical evidence did not show permanent injury due to treatment with practolol.