Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Oct 2005 : Column 190W—continued


Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prescriptions for Ritalin and similar drugs have been made in each of the last 20 years. [19779]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 20 October 2005]: The information requested is shown in the table, which shows the total number of items dispensed in the community in England for Ritalin and similar drugs for the period 1991 to 2004.

Prior to 1991, data were collected on a sample basis only, and this is not strictly comparable with the later data.
Total number of items dispensed in the community in England since 1991
Number of items (Thousand)

Drug Name
ConcertaEquasymMetadateMethylphenidate HCLRitalinTranquilyn

1. Prescription information is taken from the prescription cost analysis (PCA) system, supplied by the Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA), and is based on a full analysis of all prescriptions dispensed in the community i.e. by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England. Also included are prescriptions written in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man but dispensed in England. The data do not cover drugs dispensed in hospitals, including mental health trusts, or private prescriptions.
2. Prescriptions are written on a prescription form. Each single item written on the form is counted as a prescription item.


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will assist the funding of Saneline. [16979]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Voluntary and community sector organisations, including SANE, are eligible to apply for Government funding schemes aimed at the voluntary and community sector.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether she has initiated research into the effect of Seroxat on babies in the first three months of pregnancy. [18823]

Jane Kennedy: A number of epidemiological studies have been conducted to examine potential adverse effects in babies of women who take selective serotonin
24 Oct 2005 : Column 191W
reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants, including paroxetine (brand name Seroxat), either in the first three months of pregnancy or at any time during pregnancy. The majority of these studies have not provided evidence of an increased risk of birth defects with SSRI antidepressants such as paroxetine.

Recently, initial results from a new study conducted by the Seroxat manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, suggest that paroxetine may increase the risk of birth defects. On receiving these new data, the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency promptly sought expert advice from the independent scientific advisory committee, the committee on safety of medicines (CSM). The CSM has requested that further analyses should be conducted and additional information sought before a conclusion can be reached on whether or not paroxetine increases the risk of congenital malformations. In the meantime the product information for paroxetine is being updated Europe-wide to reflect these new data.
24 Oct 2005 : Column 192W

If Seroxat is taken by women in late pregnancy, it is recognised that it may cause withdrawal reactions/serotonergic effects in newborns and the product information for patients has appropriate warnings.

Current advice is that paroxetine should only be used in pregnancy when strictly indicated and only if the expected benefit to the mother is thought to be greater than any potential risk to the foetus.


Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of (a) the number of under-18s in England who are smokers and (b) the percentage of underage smokers who come from smoking households. [18396]

Caroline Flint: The data are not available in the requested form. Table one shows the estimated number of smokers, to the nearest hundred thousand, for the age groups 11–15 and 16–19. This uses the most recent data available.
Table 1: Estimated number of smokers aged 11–15 and 16–19, England 2004

AgeEstimated prevalence (percentage)(87)(5508210088)Estimated population(89)Estimated number of smokers
(nearest 100,000)

UnweightedWeighted (000)

Due to the small sample sizes for given age ranges in the General Household Survey (GHS), data is given for 16–19 rather than under 18s. This is the format of the reporting in the GHS.
(87) NatCen/NFER Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2004
(88) Office for National Statistics (ONS) The General Household Survey 2003–04
(89) ONS mid-year population estimates, 2004 (based on the 2001 census).

77 per cent. of regular smokers aged 11–15 come from a smoking household. This is shown in table two.
Table 2: Smoking status of secondary school children aged 11–15, by smoking status of household. England 2004

Non-smoking householdSmoking householdTotalBases
Not answered475310081
Regular smoker2377100808
Occasional smoker4357100514
Non smoker58421008,026

A smoking household is defined here as one in which there are one or more smokers other than the pupil.
NatCen/NFER Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2004.

Sperm Count

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the average sperm count among UK males in each year from 1976. [17343]

Caroline Flint: No estimate has been made of the average sperm count amongst United Kingdom males as this information is not collected centrally.

St. Albans and Harpenden PCT

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her Department's assessment is of the provision of genito-urinary medicine within St. Albans; and if she will make a statement. [18283]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Commissioning of these services is a matter for the local primary care trust. The Department has commissioned the Medical Foundation for Aids and Sexual Health to undertake a review of every genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic in the country and St. Albans will receive a visit in due course. Between 2002–03 and 2005–06, the Department has invested an extra additional £176,000 for improvements in access to GUM services within St. Albans. Waiting times data show an improvement in the percentage of people being seen within 48 hours by the GUM clinic in St. Albans, which is shown in the table.
Percentage of people seen within 48 hours by the GUM clinic in St. Albans

November 2004May 2005

24 Oct 2005 : Column 193W

Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which hospital trusts in the Surrey and Sussex strategic health authority area are operating a freeze on recruitment of medical staff. [19001]

Caroline Flint: This is a local matter for individual trusts in the Surrey and Sussex area. The Department does not hold this information.

Next Section Index Home Page