§ Mr. Nigel Griffiths
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what investigations her Department has carried out into the use of parts of endangered animals by traditional Chinese or far eastern doctors practising in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Sackville
The Department has not investigated this aspect of traditional Chinese or far eastern medicine. However, the Medicines Control Agency, which forms part of the Department of Health, is responsible for enforcing medicines legislation within the United Kingdom. It is an offence under the Medicines Act 1968 to import unlicensed medicinal products from China or elsewhere in the far east for sale or supply within the United Kingdom, except where the product has been requested by a registered practitioner on behalf of a particular patient of his. When products are brought to its attention which contravene or appear to contravene the Medicines Act, the agency investigates and takes appropriate action.
The agency is not presently aware that any unlicensed products, containing parts of endangered animals and for which medicinal claims are made, are being brought to or sold in the United Kingdom.