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Jacqui Smith: Research into women's health issues relating to pregnancy and childbirth will be given appropriate priority during the process to develop the children's national service framework, in competition with the Secretary of State's other priorities. These will be discussed with the research councils.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review NHS Model Engineering Specification Rev 3 of November 1997 (MES C10 Refrigeration Plant General) to ensure that it conforms with the Government's policy on use of HFCs. 
Mr. Lammy: The current version of model engineering specifications C10 refrigeration plant (general), although pre-dating European Community regulations on the supply and use of CFCs and HCFCs, identifies the phasing out of CFC and HCFC compounds and requires the use of HFC refrigerants in accordance with Government policy.
All National Health Service Estates model engineering specifications are subject to periodic review to take account of updates in standards and changes in clinical practice. Any necessary changes to model engineering specifications C10 will be made as part of the next review during 2003.
Mr. Lammy: Patients, including pensioners, who are likely to have difficulty in paying for dental treatment are entitled to financial help with the charges. Many pensioners will be able to afford to pay for treatment, but where they cannot they can apply for help under the low income scheme and may be entitled to free treatment, or partial help with the cost of treatment.
The Government believes that it is a better use of limited resources to base help with charges for National Health Service dentistry on the individual's ability to pay, so ensuring that help is focused on those who need it most. The Government meets over two thirds of the total cost of dentistry. Many patients including pensioners, receiving NHS dental treatment are either exempt from charges or can receive help through the low income scheme.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the mandate of the Committee for the implementation of the Community action programme on pollution-related diseases in the framework of the action plan for public health is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the United Kingdom representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: The European Union Committee for the implementation of the Community action programme on pollution-related diseases was mandated under Article 5 of Decision No 1296/1999/EC of the European Parliament and Council. The Committee assists the Commission in taking forward the programme by providing opinions on the work programme and research proposals submitted for funding under the programme.
Costs to public funds were minimal, meetings usually last one day, the Commission pay the travel costs of nominated representatives, UK Departments are required to pay subsistence and UK travel costs.
Together with Member States, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EX, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".
As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Library on 26 February 2002 (Com (2001) 783 Final).
As part of the review process, the UK Government has encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent action, to be accessible through its website.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the mandate of the Committee for the implementation of the Community action plan to combat cancer is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the United Kingdom representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to receive guidance from the European Union Scientific Committee on Food on the upper safe levels for daily intake of (a) taurine and (b) glucuronolactone; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: The European Union Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) concluded in their 1999 opinion on the safety of caffeine and other constituents of energy drinks that further studies would be required in order to be able to establish upper safe levels for daily intake of taurine and glucuronolactone. The SCF is currently reviewing new data on the ingredients of energy drinks and considering whether there is a need to review its 1999 opinion in light of this information. It is expected that this review will be completed before the end of the year, when the remit of the SCF expires.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to receive analysis of the research on the safety of high caffeine drinks from the EU Scientific Committee on Food; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears: New data on the safety of the ingredients of "energy drinks" has been submitted to the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF). The committee has been asked to consider if, in light of this new information, there is a need to revise their previous opinion expressed in 1999. It is expected that the SCF will report on their findings by the end of the year, when the remit of the committee expires.
Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely changes in cost to the NHS of the creation of monopoly suppliers through the licensing of orphan chemicals following the implementation of UK legislation on the EU Directive on Orphan Chemicals. 
Mr. Lammy: No assessment has been made of the cost to the National Health Service of medicines licensed under the European Orphan Drugs Regulations. Four drugs have been authorised to date and approximately 200 others have been designated and are in the pipeline for authorisation. Until the prices of these medicines and the number of patients requiring them are known it is difficult to quantify the cost. Where companies make excessive profits on branded medicines these are recovered under the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) and statutory powers are available to deal with medicines not covered by that scheme.
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Mr. Lammy: The European Commission published proposals for wide ranging amendments to the regulatory regime for human and veterinary medicines in December 2001. The proposed changes include a new definition of a medicinal product.
The Government recognises the need to ensure that the definition of a medicine is drafted in such a way that will allow new therapies to be appropriately regulated. However, the United Kingdom's view is that the extension of the scope of the medicines legislation, particularly when linked to the new definition, is unwarranted and unacceptable as it would capture many products, including certain food supplements, that are already covered by other sectoral legislation. The Government sees no justification for this proposal and will continue to resist it. This position is shared by most other Member States.
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