HC Deb 18 October 1968 vol 770 cc827-8

Lords Amendment No. 140: In page 107, line 15, at beginning insert "use".

Mr. K. Robinson

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

It would be convenient, I suggest, to discuss at the same time Lords Amendments Nos. 142, 145 and 150.

Mr. Robinson

The effect of the first three of these Amendments, which were foreshadowed on Report by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, is to put manufactured herbal ingredients not already covered by Clause 117(l)(b) in the same position as manufactured ingredients for use in pharmacies or hospitals or by practitioners.

Such ingredients, in contrast to those used wholly or mainly by pharmaceutical manufacturers, which would, of course, be subject to control only in special circumstances where an Order is made under Clause 97(1)(a), are placed by the Bill in the category of "medicinal product", because pharmacists and practitioners would normally rely on the correcting manufacturer to ensure the quality of any product marketed for use in professional practice as an ingredient for making up a medicine. It is reasonable, therefore, to require that the semi-finished product supplied for this purpose should be subject to licensing in the same way as the finished product, packed and put up ready for administration.

The same applies to bulk extracts, tinctures and other ingredients purchased by herbalists for use in extemporaneous preparation of herbal remedies, and the organisations representing herbal interests with whom discussions have taken place accept the desirability of bringing them under licensing control. It is particularly important in the case of some bulk preparations because of their potency and because of the breadth of the exemptions for extemporaneous dispensing which are given to any person who is resorted to by an individual for herbal treatment.

Amendment No. 150 implements a promise of my hon. Friend on Report to consider whether provision could be made for ointment bases like lanoline and petroleum jelly and other non-herbal excipients traditionaly used by herbalists.

As the Bill is drafted, any medicinal product containing a substance other than water, which is not of herbal origin is outside the definition of "herbal remedy" and the special exemptions for herbal remedies would accordingly not apply. This Amendment widens the definition by allowing the inclusion of any inert non-herbal substances and, therefore, I think, fully meets the point about excipients which was made on behalf of the herbalists.

Mr. Dean

After a good deal of discussion and various Amendments at different stages of the Bill, the Minister has a happy balance between the reasonable freedom of the herbalists to pursue their side of medicine and the controls which I accept to be desirable in retard to the manufactured herbal ingredients of which he spoke.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.