Following new data, the United Kingdom Committee on Safety of Medicines has advised that Seroxat should not be used in children and adolescents under 18 with depressive illness because the balance of risks and benefits is negative. The committee's current advice is that Seroxat is an effective medicine for the treatment of adults with depressive illness and anxiety disorders and that the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks. An expert working group of the Committee on Safety of Medicines will examine urgently what implications, if any, the new findings have for the use of Seroxat in adults.
Does the minister agree that the off-licence prescribing of antidepressants and other adult medicines to children is of grave concern? Will he give us an assurance that children who are no longer prescribed Seroxat and other medicines will be offered alternative methods of treatment?
I certainly agree with that point—alternatives must be available. The major piece of work on mental health services for young people will take that on board. In relation to Adam Ingram's first point, the guidance from the Committee on Safety of Medicines is clear on people who are under 18 and it will be followed.