§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total amount for the most recent period available spent by his Department on drug information services to National Health Service medical practitioners; and what this was as a proportion of his estimate of pharmaceutical company spending on promotion and advertising permitted under his Department's agreement with the pharmaceutical industry over the same period.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
A single figure for the Department's expenditure is not available. We will have spent some £1.2 million this year on providing general medical practitioners with written information about drugs. In addition, an unknown proportion of the £l million spent on continuing education for general practitioners will have been devoted to courses on therapeutics and some part of the £0.75 million cost of the liaison activities of the Department's regional medical service will be attributable to prescribing visits. These figures do not include spending by individual health authorities on drug information.
Whilst it is for the pharmaceutical companies concerned to decide on their level of sales promotion expenditure, the amount of sales promotion accepted as a cost under the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme is limited to 10 per cent. of the value of the industry sales. This is estimated to amount to about £107 million in 1982.