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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will eliminate the LD50 test as a regulatory instrument for the safety and potency testing of Botox, in favour of in-vitro methods; and if he will make a statement. 
Botox is the trade name for one of the products containing botulinum toxin. International and UK regulations concerning safety and efficacy of medicines require testing for botulinum toxin products at various stages of their processing, from harvesting through to marketing as a finished product for use as a prescription-only medicine.
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The Home Office and all others concerned with conducting and regulating such testing are committed to moving to less severe testing procedures as soon as it becomes practicable to do so. The laboratories involved in ensuring that botulinum toxin products are safe for therapeutic use (the only use for which animal tests are licensed) are already gaining expertise in non-animal methods to this end.
The European Pharmacopoeia states that the potency of the toxin as a reconstituted product is determined by an LD50 assay in mice (the reference method), or by a method validated with respect to the LD50 assay. Unfortunately there is at present no accepted and validated alternative to the LD50 test for determining the potency of botulinum toxin at the production stage. Other methods, including an in vitro test, can additionally be employed, and are being used, for example when confirmatory assay of potency is needed.
Under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 only the test method which causes the least animal suffering, while achieving the scientific objective, can be licensed in the UK. This means that in vitro tests must be used wherever possible and, when there is no non-animal alternative, animal suffering must be minimised by use of the mildest procedures available. Conditions on project licences require this, so that when a less severe validated alternative to the LD50 test becomes available, it must be used.
Information on the number of known drug offenders found guilty or cautioned for Class A drugs and the number of possession offences in the Cleveland police force area are available in the Area tables, of the Drug seizure and offender statistics, United Kingdom", United Kingdom, 2001 and 2002, for which figures are currently available. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the sources of the information in the
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Home Office Country Information Policy Unit reports are; what checks are made to verify their accuracy; and how often those reports are updated. 
Mr. Browne: The Home Office Country Information and Policy Unit (CIPU) produces Country Reports on the 20 countries that generate the largest number of asylum applications in the UK. They are issued twice a year, at the end of April and October and are published on the Home Office website. The reports are used by Home Office officials involved in the asylum and human rights determination process.
The reports are compiled from a wide variety of well respected, independent and publicly available sources. These sources include intergovernmental organisations (such as the UN), governmental sources (including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and human rights organisations (for example Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch). All information in each report is attributed, throughout the text, to the original source material. The Country Reports do not contain any Home Office opinion or policythey are essentially a compilation of material produced by other organisations.
We are firmly committed to ensuring that the country information material produced to inform asylum decisions meets the highest standards. Under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, we have established the independent Advisory Panel on Country Information (APCI) to provide rigorous independent external scrutiny of country information material produced by the Home Office and make recommendations to help ensure that it is of the highest quality. The APCI is proving to be very effective in fulfilling its function.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many items of electrical equipment were used by his Department in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by (a) cost and (b) number of each type of item. 
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage of documents and the use of shredders; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The department follows standards set by The National Archives (TNA). Both electronic and paper documents are created as part of its business. They are held for as long as required in line with set retention periods. When no longer required by the business they are then appraised for transfer to TNA as a significant historical record or destroyed. The destruction of documents is determined according to whether or not they are confidential. Confidential material will be destroyed using shredders or specialist disposal companies. The department's policies for managing its records, their retention, and disposal has remained constant.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) men and (b) women were convicted of trafficking (i) class A drugs and (ii)cannabis from Africa to the UK in each of the last five years. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost of crime committed by a heroin addict in the UK was for the latest period for which figures are available. 
Caroline Flint: Estimates of the costs of drug-related crime are not available by individual drug type. However, a recent study published by the Home Office provides estimates of the total economic and social costs of Class A drug use. It estimates that the criminal justice costs associated with problematic drug use range between £2.0 and £3.6 billion in 2000. The majority of these costs are attributable to heroin and crack cocaine users. The cost per user is estimated to be £7,013 per annum. These costs include arrest and police detention costs and those accruing to courts and prisons. The study also estimates the victim costs of drug-related crime, including these in the total increases the range of estimates to £8.8 to £15.8 billionaround £31,200 per user per annum.
The Home Office does not hold a central record of the number or value of tenders let by the Department in each financial year, to obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs.
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