HC Deb 30 July 1962 vol 664 c5
7. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Health, why he will not advise hospital authorities that they may purchase drugs from firms which have made application under Section 41 of the Patents Act, 1949, for a compulsory licence to manufacture these drugs.

Mr. Powell

Because there is no licence unless the application is granted.

Mr. Pavitt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Section 41 of the Patents Act was specifically meant to prevent monopoly? Is he also aware that his circular to hospitals on this subject in June led to considerable confusion? Is he not taking unto himself rights of decision in this case which should, rightly and properly, belong to the court?

Mr. Powell

Exactly the opposite. I am declining to do so.

Mr. K. Robinson

Will the right hon. Gentleman think again about this? Is he aware that Section 41 of the Act, which, as my hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) has said, was specifically put in to protect the public interest, is being circumvented by patent holders through inordinate delays in hearing applications for compulsory licences? In these circumstances, would he not be perfectly justified in allowing hospital authorities to buy the drug the moment an application has been accepted by the Patents Court and published?

Mr. Powell

Certainly not. If I did that I should be doing just what the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) deplored—taking the decision out of the hands of the proper authority.

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