§ Mrs. Calton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the continuing availability of animal insulin; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the difference in cost to the NHS of prescriptions of animal insulin as compared to GM insulin per 1,000 prescriptions; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the benefits of GM insulin as against animal insulin. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
There are two companies supplying animal insulin in the United Kingdom. The Department is in regular contact with these companies and both have confirmed that they will continue to supply animal insulin for the foreseeable future.
There has been no assessment or forecast made of the difference in cost of prescriptions of animal and genetically modified insulin per 1,000 prescriptions. However, the table shows the number of prescription items that were dispensed in the community in England, and their cost, in the 12 months ended June 2003 and the average net ingredient cost per item.
Number of prescription items, net ingredient cost and average net
ingredient cost per item of insulins that were dispensed in the
community in England for the 12 months ending June 2003
cost per item
Highly purified animal 128.1 4.217.2 32.92 Human sequence (GM insulin) 3,522.0 150,528.8 42.74 All insulins 3,650.0 154,746.0 42.40
1. The data are from the Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system which covers all prescription items that are dispensed in the community in England. This does not include drugs dispensed in hospitals or private prescriptions.707W
2. Insulins are those defined in the British National Formulary (BNF) paragraph 6.1.1, "Insulins". Insulin drugs have been grouped into highly purified animal and human sequence (GM) insulin in line with the British National Formulary (BNF)
3. Doctors write prescriptions on a prescription form. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item. The net ingredient cost refers to the cost (which the dispenser is reimbursed) of the drug before discounts and does not include drugs dispensed in hospitals or private prescriptions.