Huw calls for assurance that GPs are giving excellent advice to patients

Today Huw met with Emma Friedmann of campaign group FACSaware and his constituent, Carol Short, to discuss the epilepsy drug Sodium Valproate ahead of the Ministerial Statement on the Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review. The campaign group are raising awareness of the drug which should not be taken by women planning a pregnancy due to the risks to foetus. Following this, in the chamber Huw asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care a question. 

You can watch the interaction here: and read below.


Just an hour ago I met my constituent Carol Short and Emma Friedmann, a constituent of the hon. Member for Leicester South (Jonathan Ashworth), to discuss the next stage of the valproate campaign, but because of the statement, that meeting was adjourned. I am happy that they are now in the Chamber, and I am sure that they are pleased to hear about the review.

Is it possible to ensure that GPs are giving out the excellent advice that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has put together? I am sorry to say that it seems that far too many are not, and there appear to be no regulatory sanctions to ensure that they do.

Mr Hunt: 

I can give my hon. Friend the assurance for which he has asked. We have announced today that we are improving the system of alerting both general practices and community pharmacies to ensure that the right advice is given and the right safeguards are in place, so that people who are pregnant or might become pregnant do not take a medicine that is very powerful and very effective in the right circumstances, but incredibly dangerous in the wrong ones.