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How many people across the United Kingdom are currently being prescribed donepezil hydrochloride (Aricept) through the NHS and what is the current cost to the NHS; and[HL518]
Which health authorities in the United Kingdom are currently allowing the prescription of donepezil hydrochloride (Aricept) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; and[HL519]
Whether they have sought advice regarding the prescription of donepezil hydrochloride (Aricept); if so from whom; whether the advice has been acted upon; and what representations they have received from the Alzheimer's Disease Society and others on this matter.[HL522]
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Standing Medical Advisory Committee is currently considering the benefits of the drug Aricept and is preparing guidance for clinicians in the National Health Service. They endorsed an interim statement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Health authorities and clinicians already have access to a number of sources of information on Aricept, on which they can make decisions about the use of this drug.
Information on the number of patients currently receiving Aricept is not available since data cover only the number of prescriptions dispensed in community pharmacies. The latest data show a cost of £240,000 to the NHS in England for those prescriptions dispensed since the drug was licensed, from April to September 1997. Information on all those health authorities which currently allow prescription of the drug is not available. The NHS Executive has received a number of representations regarding the availability of donepezil, including some from the Alzheimer's Disease Society.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: Under the National Health Service, patients should receive the medication they need, regardless of their age. If a patient thinks he or she is being denied treatment because of a health authority policy, they should, in the first instance, raise this with the health authority concerned.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The survey, over a three-year period, started in October 1996. A copy of the department's report on the interim results, to 7 January 1998, has today been placed in the Library.
It is too early to draw firm conclusions from the findings, although general trends so far remain very consistent. Fuller results will be needed before the Government can consider and propose any measures that may appear to be necessary. Further findings will be published when we can reach a firm view.
Screening devices which may be suitable for detecting the presence of drugs in motorists are to be trialled by four police forces for a short period from mid-March. The trials are intended to establish whether the screening devices are sufficiently robust and practical for the conditions likely to be encountered at the roadside--not to test for the presence of drugs.
Traffic police from the Cleveland, Lancashire, Strathclyde and Sussex forces will ask motorists to volunteer to be tested--the police have no power to require anyone to undertake such a screening test. Volunteers' names or their car registrations will not be recorded. Police will not test those who are obviously impaired through alcohol or drugs--they will be dealt with using existing powers.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The special adviser who provides support and assistance to the Prime Minister's wife in respect of her official duties accompanied Mrs. Blair on the trip to Washington. This is in line with arrangements under the last administration, where a non-career civil servant undertook such a role on overseas visits.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government have received over 500 expressions of support for the Greenwich Theatre, including a small number specifically commenting on the special importance of the theatre for the physically disabled, because of its ease of access.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport channels its funding of the arts through the Arts Council and the 10 Regional Arts Boards, in this case the London Arts Board. The future of the theatre is a matter for the theatre's board, in conjunction with its funding partners.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): My right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade announced in September the first parts of our programmes for supporting trade fairs, seminars and missions abroad.
Lord Clinton-Davis: The cost for the private sector will depend on many factors, including the extent of the problem, the pressure placed upon businesses by their suppliers and customers, the extent to which they then decide to minimise their risk, the increasing cost of
Lord Clinton-Davis: I am writing today to leading members of the exporting and financial community for their views on the current arrangements and on options for change in the future. Copies of the consultation paper are being placed in the Library of the House and are publicly available from ECGD on request. The document will also be available on the ECGD internet site.
The consultation paper reviews market development over the past five years and without seeking to prejudge the outcome asks whether changes to the UK system might now serve the interests of the exporter and the taxpayer more effectively.
I am asking for responses by 10 April so that the Government can decide on what should succeed ECGD's current Fixed Rate Export Finance (FREF) scheme, which is scheduled to expire at the end of June, and enter into the necessary negotiations.
I hope the consultation document will stimulate serious debate about the best approach for delivering this Government's objective of ensuring that UK capital goods and project exporters have access to competitive finance at acceptable public expenditure cost.
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