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Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes has given to research into the long-term effects on human health of eating GM foods. 
Ms Stuart: The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) has considered the practicality of post-market health surveillance for all novel foods, including genetically modified foods. Based on their advice, a feasibility study is due to start in July to test the robustness of data collection procedures. The results of this study will then be assessed by the ACNFP.
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A partnership arrangement between The Multiple Sclerosis Society and the NHS has been set up to contribute to the development of MS specialist nurses. The funding arrangements include a formal evaluation of the nurses' roles that are being developed through this interesting partnership arrangement. There are currently around 70 of these specialist nurses. The further development of specialist nursing posts, however, is a matter for NHS commissioners and providers to determine as an integral part of neurological services.
Mr. Denham: There are currently two trials underway. The first, a three-year study to attempt to measure the therapeutic efforts of cannabis extract in people with multiple sclerosis, is due to report early in 2004. This study has received £950,000 from the Medical Research Council.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent guidance he has given to (a) health authorities and (b) NHS trusts regarding the provision of electronically powered wheelchairs. 
Mr. Hutton: Comprehensive guidance on the introduction of electrically powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs (with phased funding between 1996-97/ 1999-2000) was issued to the National Health Service in May 1996 (Health Service Guidance (96)34).
On 31 May this year, all health authorities were notified of their recurring allocations from 1 April 2000 for the continuation of the powered wheelchair and voucher scheme initiatives. This letter advised health authorities of our decision that allocations should:
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Yvette Cooper: [holding answer 1 March 2000]: The Committee on Dental and Surgical Materials (CDSM) did not impose a ban on the use of bovine materials in the production of surgical materials. Licensable dental and surgical materials were subject to the guidelines on the sourcing and processing of bovine materials for use in medicinal products that were issued by the Committee on Safety of Medicines as a precautionary measure in March 1989. The effect of the guidelines was to require all United Kingdom licence holders to source bovine material from outside the UK. Existing supplies of dental or surgical products that used UK sourced bovine materials were not withdrawn and it is therefore not possible to confirm when those products ceased to be used.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department made of the risk of transmission of BSE from the use of bovine material in (a) surgical catgut and (b) cosmetic products in deciding whether or not to prohibit the use of such material. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 1 March 2000]: The use of bovine material in the production of surgical catgut was considered by the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), the Committee on Dental and Surgical Materials (CDSM) and the bovine spongiform encephalopathy working party, set up to advise the CSM and CDSM on the implications of BSE for licensable products in the light of the Southwood Report conclusion that any potential risk of transmission of transferable spongiform encephalopathies associated with medicinal products was remote. They advised that, as a precautionary measure, surgical catgut should be subject to the CSM guidelines issued in March 1989 on the sourcing and processing of bovine material for use in medicinal products. The effect of the guidelines was to require all United Kingdom licence holders to source bovine material from outside the UK.
Cosmetic products are controlled by the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 1996, which implement in the UK the European Union Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC). The Department of Trade and Industry has responsibility for these Regulations.
No independent risk assessments were carried out on use of bovine material in cosmetics prior to the opinion of the EU Scientific Committee on Cosmetology (SCC) given in 1996. However, in 1990 the Department of Trade and Industry considered that, although risks were likely to be very low, it would be prudent to take similar action to that taken in the food area on use of UK sourced bovine material. In 1992 guidance was issued by the UK trade associations on the use of bovine and ovine extracts, based primarily on sourcing material from outside the UK or with extracts that conformed with World Health Organisation advice on infectivity.
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Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many yellow card reports have been received by the Medicines Control Agency of suspected adverse reactions to each routine vaccine in each year since 1990. 
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presented in the table. A report of a particular suspected reaction does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the vaccine; other factors may have contributed.
Because multiple antigens can be included within a single vaccine, such as the combined diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine, single reports may be listed more than once, against each different antigen involved. Children often receive more than one vaccine at a time and therefore a single report can be linked with all of those vaccines and similarly appear more than once in the list.
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|Haemophilus influenzae type B||0||0||543||1,132||293||125||217||226||187||339||72|
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Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if vaccines are produced using human serum for individuals who would suffer an allergic reaction to the presence of bovine material in the vaccine. 
Yvette Cooper: No. No bovine material is used as an ingredient in vaccines. Where bovine material is used in manufacture, purification processes are designed to remove material from the finished product.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 23 May 2000, Official Report, column 424W, on human vaccines, what was the first date of the use of bovine material in the early stages of the manufacture of vaccines. 
Yvette Cooper [holding answer 5 June 2000]: Vaccines were in use many years before there were controls on safety, quality and efficacy of medicinal products as introduced by the Medicines Act 1968 and have traditionally used bovine materials in their production since the 19th century.
Since 1968 there have been increasing controls on the manufacture of medicines, including vaccines, such that today we require manufacturers to supply very detailed information about materials and processes used in manufacture and we have a well-developed system of routine inspection against those standards.
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