§ Ms Hewitt
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Paul Flynn, dated 28 October 1998:As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary question on how many deaths in each of the last three years have been attributed to the use of (a) co-proxamol, (b) paracetamol and (c) paracetamol in combination with drugs other than dextropropoxyphene. The information requested is shown in the table below.
Deaths attributable to co-proxamol and paracetamol in England and Wales, 1995–97 1995 1996 1997 Co-proxamol 171 176 188 Paracetamol 324 279 335 Paracetamol with drugs other than dextropropoxyphene 75 56 62
Often a number of drugs are listed on the death certificate. If, for example, both paracetamol and co-proxamol are mentioned, the death will occur twice in the table, once under paracetamol and once under co-proxamol.
The figures for deaths where paracetamol or co-proxamol were mentioned on the death certificate include deaths attributed to these substances in combination with other drugs. Where two or more substances are listed together, the contribution, if any, of each to the death is unknown. Even where one substance is listed alone there may well be other factors with an important bearing on the death.
Moreover, coroners do not always record all specific drugs associated with a death on the death certificate. Therefore, with the information available from death registration, it is only possible to give an approximation of the number of deaths associated with or directly due to these substances.