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23 Feb 2009 : Column 264W—continued

Vaccinations: Pensioners

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many pensioners in York received influenza inoculations in each of the last five years. [257839]

Dawn Primarolo: Flu vaccine is given free of charge on the national health service to those aged 65 years and over. This influenza vaccine uptake is reported to the Department by primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities and is based on the number of patients registered at reporting general practitioner practices who were vaccinated between 1 September and 31 January of the given year. Data are not collected by constituency.

The city of York is currently covered by North Yorkshire and York PCT and prior to 2006 was covered by Selby and York PCT.

Primary Care Trust Number of registered patients 65 years and over Number of patients 65 years and over vaccinated % uptake (to 1 decimal point)


North Yorkshire and York PCT





North Yorkshire and York PCT





North Yorkshire and York PCT





Selby and York PCT





Selby and York PCT(1)




1 Data collected for the year 2004-05 were cumulative to 31 December 2004.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had since June 2008 with the US Administration on the drug Vioxx; and if he will make a statement. [256528]

Phil Hope: Neither Ministers nor officials in the Department have held any discussions with the United States Administration on this matter.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of treating those with health impairments resulting from the use of Vioxx in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [256531]

Dawn Primarolo: The Department has made no such estimate.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of people who have experienced strokes related to their use of the drug Vioxx. [256532]

Dawn Primarolo: Vioxx (rofecoxib) was one of a relatively new group of anti-inflammatory medicines known as COX-2 selective inhibitors. It was licensed in the United Kingdom and many other countries for the treatment of arthritic conditions - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis—and also for the short-term treatment of some painful conditions. COX-2 selective inhibitors are effective anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving medicines that are thought to have less risk of gastrointestinal side effects, for example stomach ulcers, than conventional anti-inflammatory medicines.

Since 2000, evidence from clinical trials had raised concerns about a possible increased risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions associated with Vioxx, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)/Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) had continually reviewed the cardiovascular safety of this drug since it was first licensed. The product information for healthcare professionals and patients, which lists all the known side effects of the medicine, was updated on a number
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of occasions on the basis of emerging evidence, and in accordance with CSM’s advice.

Data are not available on which to base a valid estimate of the number of heart attacks, strokes and other adverse effects that may have been caused by Vioxx and other COX-2 inhibitors. The underlying medical condition of many patients treated with COX-2 inhibitors means that they are already at higher risk of heart attack and stroke than the rest of the population, and the impact of the COX-2 inhibitor on this risk is not possible to calculate.

Since Vioxx was voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturer in 2004, the safety of other COX-2 inhibitors and traditional anti-inflammatory drugs—non-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—has been under continual and intense assessment in the UK and Europe. The latest evidence suggests that both NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors might pose a small increased risk of heart attacks or strokes, although the exact level of risk may vary between medicines. The MHRA has widely communicated the latest information and advice for healthcare professionals in letters and bulletins, and other publications through liaison with the British National Formulary and National Prescribing Centre. In addition, product information (including patient information leaflets) has been updated in order to support informed decision-making in relation to the choice of anti-inflammatory medicine.

Vioxx: Compensation

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Legal Services Commission since June 2008 on the award of legal aid for actions involving damage to health caused to individuals by the drug Vioxx; and if he will make a statement. [257581]

Dawn Primarolo: We have had no such discussions. It would be inappropriate for either Ministers or Government officials to intervene in or comment on decisions made about the grant of funding by the independent Legal Services Commission in individual cases. It is important that these decisions are, and are seen to be, free from political and Government influence.

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 23 February 2009

International Development

Afghanistan: Overseas Aid

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid his Department provided to Afghanistan in 2008; what the projected figure is for 2009; and if he will make a statement. [255333]

Mr. Michael Foster: Details on the Department for International Development’s (DFID) expenditure in 2008-09 are not yet available but will be published in the 2009 Annual Report in July. The most recent data can be found in ‘Statistics on International Development 2008’, which was published in November 2008 and is available online at:

Details of DFID’s annual allocation of resources are available in Annex 2 of DFID’s 2008 Annual Report. This publication is available online at:

or from the Library. The allocation for DFID’s programme in Afghanistan in 2009-10 is £115 million.

Agriculture: Research

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1614W, on agriculture: research, which nations have received funding for agricultural research and development from his Department in the last five years. [258195]

Mr. Michael Foster: The majority of DFID’s centrally funded expenditure on agricultural research is directed through international agricultural research organisations. These funds are used to benefit the lives of poor people in all developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia. DFID also supports regional programmes in the Andes, East Africa and West Africa. Regional programmes are planned for Southern Africa and South Asia. A table of organisations and programmes supported by DFID is attached with information on the countries/regions they cover.

DFID is contributing £5 million over five years through a strategic partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under the programme on Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development to fund 12 research grants in crop science. These grants were announced in January 2008 and have been made to consortia which include one UK partner and at least one partner from a developing country. In 2008-09, partners from Bangladesh, China,
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Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, have directly benefited from this programme.

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Name of institution/programme Countries/regions covered

Andes Regional Programme

South America

Pro-Poor Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Risk Reduction

Africa and Asia

Project- Lead institutions - Food and Agriculture Organization,

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and

International Livestock Research Institute (ILR1)

Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development (SARID)

Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda

Bioversity International (IPGRI)


Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI)


Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Central, West, Eastern and Southern Africa and Latin America

East African Regional Programme (Agriculture) (ASARECA)

Eastern and Central Africa

Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)


Generation Challenge Programme


Global Alliance Livestock Vaccines and Medicines (GALVmed)

Africa and Asia

Harvest Plus Challenge Programme

Brazil, China and India

International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)

North Africa, Nile Valley, Sub-Saharan Africa, West Asia, Arabian Peninsula, Highlands of North Africa & West Asia and Latin America

International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA)


International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

Africa, Asia and South America

International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)


International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

North Africa & Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, South & Central Asia, East and South East Asia, Central, South and Caribbean

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)


International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)


International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)


International Potato Centre (CIP)


International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)


International Water Management Institute (IWMI)


Research into Use

Africa and Asia

South Asia (planned)

South Asia

Southern Africa (planned with Southern African Development Community (SADC))

Southern Africa

West Africa Regional Programme (Agriculture) (CORAF)

West Africa

West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA)


World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)

Eastern Africa, West & Central Africa, Southern Africa, Latin America, South Asia and South East Asia

World Vegetable Center (AVRDC)


WorldFish Centre (ICLARM)


Departmental Foreign Workers

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals are employed by his Department. [256206]

Mr. Michael Foster: Declaration of nationality by staff within the Department for International Development (DFID) is voluntary. Where details are known, the numbers of our Home Civil Service (HCS) staff who are:

Number of home civil service staff

EU foreign nationals


non-EU foreign nationals


DFID also employs 787 staff appointed in country (SAIC), engaged in our overseas offices on local terms and conditions. Most SAIC are non-EU nationals.

Islamic Development Bank

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Islamic Development Bank on development finance; and if he will make a statement. [256598]

Mr. Michael Foster: I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Islamic Development Bank during my visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2009 with the aim of increasing co-operation in countries and sectors of mutual interest. This was the first agreement of its kind between the Department for International Development (DFID) and an Arab or Islamic development institution.

DFID has been increasing its engagement with the Islamic Development Bank over the last two years building a partnership around common aims. The Islamic Development Bank’s ‘Vision 1440H’ supports the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

In November 2008 DFID and the Bank launched a first joint project to deliver access to clean water and improved sanitation for 36,000 people in Al Howta City in Yemen. DFID and Bank officials are currently exploring new areas for co-operation.

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