HL Deb 17 March 1887 vol 312 cc491-3

(The Earl Milltown.)


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that its object, though extremely simple, was one of considerable importance to the general public, It was framed with the object of enabling the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, which was formed in 1841, and received a Charter in 1843, to make adequate regulations for the education and curriculum to be followed by those who were enrolled among its members. Its purpose was to protect the public against the admission to practice of persons without the necessary training. Hitherto there had been great difficulties in the way of the Society dealing with that matter, the importance of which it was impossible to over-estimate, because the members had the exclusive right of dispensing and selling poisons. By the Pharmacy Act of 1852, it was made penal for any unauthorized person to assume the title of pharmaceutical chemist, and by the Act of 1868 it was made unlawful for any person not duly qualified to sell or dispense poisons, or to assume the title of chemist and druggist. Certain poisons of a particu- larly dangerous character, the sale of which was placed under special restrictions, were contained in a Schedule to the Act. That Schedule could be added to by the Society, from time to time, with the consent of the Privy Council. The Society consisted of members, associates, and registered apprentices, each of whom had a separate qualification, and passed a separate examination. It was intended that the apprentices should pass a preliminary examination before admission, and after a three years' apprenticeship should pass a qualifying examination; but it had been found that, owing to the development of the extensive system of cramming that now prevailed, the gentlemen who were known as apprentices trusted entirely to passing the qualified examination, and did not devote themselves to acquiring the practical knowledge absolutely essential during apprenticeship, although all operations in pharmacy required to be maturely practised for the safety of the public. By the 6th clause of the Bill of 1868, the Examiners were bound to pass those who answered their questions, which might be answered by those who had no skilful training at all. The Society accordingly framed bye-laws for remedying those defects and establishing a sufficient curriculum of study; but the Privy Council, to whom all bye-laws had to be submitted, felt unable to confirm them, as it considered that the Statutes did not authorize the Society to frame them; and this Bill, which had the unanimous assent of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society, had been introduced into their Lordships' House to remedy this defect. Subject to a slight amendment in the phraseology of one of the clauses, his noble Friend the Lord President of the Council (Viscount Cranbrook) did not object to the Bill. He might add that the 2nd clause gave this Society power to dispense with the three years' curriculum in the case of those who had obtained technical skill in any part of the United Kingdom or the Colonies, but not with the qualifying examination. In moving the second reading, he might say, in conclusion, that the Bill did not apply to Ireland, as the Irish Pharmacy Act of 1875 did not require similar amendment. The Bill would have the effect of making the practice in the matter uniform throughout the Kingdom.

Moved. "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Earl of Mtlltown.)

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.

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