HC Deb 08 July 1903 vol 125 cc9-10

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, under a notification recently issued by the Board of Inland Revenue, a druggist will not be allowed to sell the smallest quantities of pills, powders, mixtures, or other form of medicine without attaching to every descriptive label, either written or printed, a 1½d. stamp; whether the Board has considered the extra cost to the poor of this additional charge, or the danger of selling drugs unlabelled; and whether, in view of the interests of the poorer classes and of the public safety, the Board will, still in accordance with their former intimation, recognise the necessity for giving to a preparation such a designation or name as shall distinguish it from other medicines and attribute some further meaning to such words as cough mixture, liver pills, lip salve, teething powders, corn paint etc.

(Answered by Mr. Elliot.) The change in the Board's practice has been rendered necessary by the decision of the High Court in the recent case of Ransom v. Sanguinetti, the effect of which is to render liable to the Medicine Stamp Duty any preparation sold under a description which refers only to the ailment which it is intended to remedy e.g., cough mixture. But payment of duty will not be required in respect of a preparation which bears upon the label an indication of its ingredients, such as will bring the article within the scope of the special exemption in favour of known, admitted, and approved remedies, sold by duly qualified persons, as interpreted by the recent decision in the case of Farmer v. Glyn Jones.

MR. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrewshire, E.)

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Board of Inland Revenue have notified chemists that after 30th September they will be no longer permitted to sell to customers small packages bearing a descriptive title unless a medicine stamp of the value of 1½d. is affixed to each package even though the value of such package, be only 1d. or 2d.; and whether, seeing that the alternative will be for chemists to sell all packages without any descriptive title, he will state what steps he proposes to take to prevent, in the one event, so high a tax being placed on chemists and their customers; and, in the other, to guard the public against danger.

(Answered by Mr. Elliot.) I would refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 49, of to-day's date, on the same subject.