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The Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Alan Milburn): The Government have decided to roll forward, unchanged, the maximum price scheme for generic medicines used in National Health Service primary care. This follows consultation with stakeholders that concluded on 29 November 2002.
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The scheme was introduced in August 2000 as a result of price increases in the generics market that started in 1999. It was rolled forward in October 2001. The scheme has restored stability in the generics market and the NHS has saved some #330 million annually as a result. The continuation of it will ensure that this stability continues and that the expenditure savings are maintained.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Paul Murphy): In order to ensure that security vetting is up to date and appropriate to current circumstances, and in view of recent events, I have asked for a review to be conducted of security vetting arrangements operating in Northern Ireland. This review will be led by the Northern Ireland Office, and includes senior representatives of the Northern Ireland Civil Service and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The review will report to me with recommendations, and a plan for their implementation. I will inform the House of the outcome.