HL Deb 31 July 1968 vol 296 cc327-51

3.41 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that consideration of this Report be now resumed.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

LORD SANDFORD had given notice of his intention to move a Manuscript Amendment on Clause 66. The noble Lord said: My Lords, a number of difficulties have arisen on this Bill since the Government tabled seventeen Amendments the night before the Bill was to be considered on Report and to go through all its stages. Not the least of these difficulties has been how to get a proper discussion of all the issues that were raised by those Amendments—how to get a discussion in the twenty-four hours that the Government have now allowed the House by the decision to continue the Report stage, and to take the remaining stages of the Bill, to-day. But I understand that, after further consultation through the usual channels and with the Table, it would be better to have a wide-ranging debate on the Amendment to Clause 107, to include some reference to Clause 66, which is closely linked with Clause 107, rather than for me to move my Manuscript Amendment. Therefore I shall not move this Amendment.

Clause 107 [Enforcement in England and Wales]:

LORD KENNET moved Amendment No. 38: Page 102, line 27, after ("of") insert ("any order made under paragraph (a) of section 62(1) of this Act and of")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we come now to the group of Amendments which the House last night agreed to defer until to-day. All the Amendments in my name hang together, with the exception of Amendment No. 51. That also was deferred yesterday because it happened to come in the middle of a block that we wished to defer. It is on a separate point, so I shall explain that Amendment separately when we come to it. I will speak now, if I may, about all the remaining Government Amendments that is, the block of 16 Amendments, beginning with Amendment No. 38, and the last Amendment. No. 79, at the very end, which is an Amendment to Schedule 3. In the middle of that block of Amendments, the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, has down an Amendment to Clause 45A, which is an Amendment to one of my Amendments, and to which we shall come in due course.

The major block of Government Amendments alters the provisions in Clause 107 about enforcement responsibilities. As drafted, these enforcement responsibilities lie mainly on the Pharmaceutical Society, but in some respects they lie also on local authorities. The Amendments are the result of a thorough review of Clause 107 which has been carried out by the Government in an attempt to meet criticisms voiced in the House of Commons and also in this House on Committee stage by the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. As the Bill stands, it places on the Pharmaceutical Society the duty of enforcing regulations about the dispensing of prescriptions and about the sale of general sales list drugs, including veterinary general sales list drugs, anywhere. I draw attention to the word "anywhere"—not only in pharmacies but also in other places. The main grounds of criticism have been, first, that the Society has only about fifteen qualified inspectors—a small number compared with the total number of retail outlets where general sales list medicines can be sold; and, second, that as pharmacists are in competition with ordinary shops and health food stores, and are alleged to be unsympathetic to the techniques and activities of the herbalists, in particular, it would be wrong for the Society, the pharmacists' professional body, to have this enforcement function.

The critics of the original clause therefore suggested that local authorities or food and drug authorities should be brought in instead, notwithstanding the fact that the function would be quite new to them; they have no experience in this field, while the Pharmaceutical Society has. Certain pronouncements by the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society that drugs ought only to be sold to the public by retail pharmacists have also been quoted, and evidently with some reason, as indicating how difficult it would be for the Society's authorised officers to show a due understanding and fairness towards the operations of other sectors of the retail trade. Moreover, the clause as it is drafted does not provide for enforcement of the regulations in question in places other than premises—that is to say, places like street stalls, travelling shops, and even on ships, where one can imagine general sales list products being sold.

There is also the difficulty of foretelling at this point the range of variations in the requirements in relation to different persons and places; for instance, pharmacies, ordinary shops, other places, vehicles, ships, and so on. In each case the appropriate enforcement authority could vary according to whether the products are on the general sales list or not; whether they are human or veterinary medicines or herbal remedies, or, in future, medical or veterinary devices. In some cases the Pharmaceutical Society would obviously be the appropriate body; in others it might be the local authority or the food and drugs authority. It will be much easier to decide this when the requirements concerned are known and when consultations have taken place about the enforcement.

There is a precedent for the arrangement introduced by these clauses. I refer to the Food and Drugs Act 1955, which enables regulations to specify the relevant enforcement authorities. This is what the Amendment does. The effect of the Amendments is as follows. They delete the original Clause 107, subsections (4) and (5)(a) and the references to Clauses 53 and 54 in subsection (5)(b), and enable the Health and Agriculture Ministers to make regulations specifying the appropriate enforcement authorities for specified regulations under Clause 66 and for the Clause 53 and Clause 54 provisions. The enforcement body will have to be chosen from the Pharmaceutical Society, the food and drugs authorities and the local authorities as public health authorities as may be appropriate in each case. The Ministers have concurrent powers throughout. The ministerial concurrent power is also precedented in the Food and Drugs Act 1955.

Amendments Nos. 38 and 42 touch on another point. They transfer a reference from one part of the Bill to another, and the orders covered by that transfer are those prohibiting on safety grounds the sale or importation of medicinal products or classes of products, whether they are the subject of a product licence or not. These orders are a sort of emergency orders: they can be made when it is known that a specific danger is likely to crop up. It is the duty of the Pharmaceutical Society to enforce these orders in any retail premises, the Ministers being responsible elsewhere—that is, as the clause is drafted. The effect of the transfer under the Amendment is to enable the appropriate Minister to make arrangements with, or to give directions to, either the food and drugs authorities or the Pharmaceutical Society, or both, about this class of orders. In fact, his intention is to make use of both. Safety considerations might demand the utmost speed in enforcing the prohibition of sales from retail outlets; and the food and drugs authorities, who are already mentioned in connection with the composition and adulteration of medicines, could be a most valuable means of obtaining this speed in an emergency.

Continuing with the enforcement regulations under subsections (4) and (4)(a) of the new subsection after subsection (5), they will be made in England and Wales by the Health and Agriculture Ministers jointly under the Amendment. Their making must be preceded by consultation with organisations appearing to represent the interests of those likely to be affected. This is the normal provision which runs throughout the Bill. Corresponding Amendments to Clauses 108 and 109 make the relevant provisions for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

That is the detailed account of what is done. To sum it up in a nutshell, as the Bill left the House of Commons it provided that the Pharmaceutical Society should enforce various classes of the regulations right across the board, although they had never done so in the past. That was criticised, and the Government think the criticism was justified. They therefore introduce an Amendment which allows the Minister to say whether it shall be the Pharmaceutical Society or the food and drugs authorities or the local authority, as public health authority, or himself, as Minister with concurrent powers, who shall enforce the regulations in any given circumstances. All these arrangements are to be made only after the fullest consultation with all concerned. My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 38, and I shall move the others in this series formally when we reach them.

3.50 p.m.


My Lords, we are all grateful to Her Majesty's Government for deferring for 24 hours consideration of these Amendments, and I should like to suggest that my Amendment, No. 45A, which is new, should be considered at the same time as we are discussing this batch of Government Amendments.

This deferment has given us a little time, though not much, to ascertain the reactions of the outside bodies whose interests appeared to us to be at stake and who would not otherwise have had an opportunity to see them, let alone to express an opinion upon them. I would add now our thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, for the explanation that he has given us. These changes are no doubt acceptable and very welcome to the herbalists, on behalf of whose interests the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, was speaking during the Committee stage of this Bill. The herbalists did not particularly want their premises to be laid open, as they would have been by the clause as drafted, to inspection by the Pharmaceutical Society, but owing presumably to lack of consultation, lack of time or poor communications, other bodies whose interests were safeguarded by Clause 107 as it is at present drafted felt themselves to be threatened by these Amendments.


My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord would be good enough to tell the House what those other bodies were.


The bodies that seemed to be concerned were the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and British Drug Houses, in particular, on whose behalf the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, was speaking last night. These are the only ones with whom I have been able to have any consultation to any extent. I think the acceptance of my Amendment No. 45A would go a long way towards meeting these misgivings, as I am sure the explanation given by the noble Lord has already done, apart from the further explanation for which I shall ask him, about the way the regulations made under Clause 66 will be drafted.

In the light of the consultations that I have been able to have so far, 1 had it in mind to table a further Amendment to Clause 66, to help make it correspond more closely to what I believe the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, had in mind when he was speaking last night—and I refer to his remarks at column 275 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. If we were not taking this Bill through all its stages to-day I should have tabled that Amendment for Third Reading. but I am now debarred from doing that. Perhaps in the circumstances the House would allow me to revert briefly to Clause 66. Last night the noble Lord made a distinction—I thought a sensible distinction—between the various matters contained in the separate paragraphs under it, and he distinguished between the purposes which are, I take it, those set out in subsection (1), and the requirements as to space. layout, and so on, set out in subsection (2). It seems to me that the matters contained in the paragraphs that make up his Amendment No. 30 of last night fall into the category, not of purposes but into the same category as the items in subsection (2). They are more akin to those, and that is why I drafted my Manuscript Amendment to transfer the substance of his Amendment No. 30 from subsection (1) to subsection (2). If this were done (which is what I think the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, was really describing last night), then the aim that he set before us would be achieved, and the regulations about these requirements as to space, and so on could be drafted only in so far as they related to the purposes of the subsection above. This is one point which I think has caused a certain amount of disquiet.

Over and above this rather technical point, however, I hope the noble Lord will be able to explain a little more fully than he has done the way in which regulations under this Clause 66 will be drawn up. Until this moment it has appeared from Clause 107(4) and Clause 107(5)(a), which are about to be changed by Amendments Nos. 39 and 40, that regulations would be drawn covering items (a) to (f) in subsection (1) which would have been enforceable by the Pharmaceutical Society in registered pharmacies and other premises where medicinal products are to be sold, and that regulations covering (g) to (h) of subsection (1), and (a) to (c) of subsection (2), would have been enforceable by local authorities. Under the Amendments which we shall be discussing, and particularly No. 39, this division of these categories will disappear, and I suggest it will be helpful to know, before we consider the enforcement of the regulations, what alternatives will replace this division. This is one of the points on which assurances would be welcomed. I hope that the Minister can give them, and that he will also indicate whether he can accept my Amendment No. 45A, when I come to move it.


My Lords, I should like to say a word about this matter. I very much welcome the steps taken by the Government to protect the interests of people like the medical herbalists and health food stores, and others, who under the Bill as originally drafted had been put (at any rate as they thought) very much at the mercy of the Pharmaceutical Society. It appears to me that the importance and number of herbalists and others engaged in what is often called "Nature cure" up and down the country had been rather overlooked in the Ministry. Obviously the Bill did not provide proper safeguards for them, and this was brought to the attention of the Ministry in the House of Commons by Members of Parliament on both sides of the House, which I think made the Ministry realise how important an interest had in fact been offended by the Bill as originally drafted. The Government were quick to appreciate that that had happened, and important Amendments, for which at any rate the medical herbalists were grateful, were introduced and put into the Bill before it left the other place. However, the point about enforcement and the inspection of the premises was clearly in a most unsatisfactory state when the Bill reached your Lordships' House, and it was on that basis that I moved the Amendments which were discussed at some length at Committee Stage.

I can quite see that this is an intractable problem, and although I complained that nothing had in fact been done, I appreciate that those concerned about the matter had been faced with a difficult task. The Bill came quickly from the other place to your Lordships' House, and obviously the correct solution to the problem has not yet been found. It is not altogether to be wondered at, but in the circumstances I think the method chosen to deal with this matter, which is to deal with it by regulation after full consultation with the various interests concerned, is very much the best way of handling it. At any rate, the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, with whom I had the advantage of a considerable discussion yesterday afternoon, are very satisfied.

It is quite reasonable that, so far as ordinary pharmacists' shops are concerned, the Pharmaceutical Society should be given the job of regulating its own people that is, to pursue a policy which certainly in the legal profession has been the case for a long time. The job of looking after solicitors is done by the Law Society, and that of looking after barristers is done by the Inns of Court. This is a similar sort of system, if I may say so. It seems to be rather unfortunate (because there are a very large number of these herbalists' shops and consulting herbalists up and down the country) that their own organisations were not brought in in the way the Pharmaceutical Society was brought in. I can quite see that at this stage it would be difficult to do that, although I should be grateful if the Government could consider the possibility that a rather more close association, of the kind which the Ministry obviously has with the Pharmaceutical Society, could be opened up and regularised in connection with the herbalists' organisations.

But, of course the herbalists, as the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, has in effect indicated, are not the only other interests involved in this matter, and that is a point the noble Lord opposite brought out. All these other interests are entitled to the same consideration, and this is where I think these proposals are so valuable; that is to say that all the interests in question are to be properly consulted before the regulations are drawn up and brought into force. On that basis, the herbalists certainly are very happy to go along with the Government, and I warmly support these proposals.

4.4 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, and also the noble Lord the Leader of the House, for their consideration to the House in adjourning the Report stage last night, thus giving an opportunity for those who wished to do so to consult any interests affected, and also giving an opportunity to those who wished to speak on Third Reading to do so after the Report stage is concluded. I am very grateful to the noble Lord for meeting the point—I thought a very valid point—of the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. on the Committee stage, a matter which has been taken a little further to-day by the noble Lord, Lord Sandford. If the noble Lord can meet the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, on Amendment No. 45A, I think that will be a very convenient thing to do. So far as I am concerned, I am happy with the situation, subject to anything the noble Lord can do to satisfy Lord Sandford.

I would ask one question purely for information. It is not a question, such as we sometimes ask, to put a point of view; this is merely for information. In Amendment No. 39, which the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, has spoken about, there is a rather odd provision. It is said that the bodies who are to enforce these regulations are to be specified by the Minister. That is right and proper. I am sorry that "the Minister" in this respect does not carry out the electoral promise of the Labour Party and include the Secretary of State for Wales. I raised that point on Committee stage and was answered rather inadequately—but as it was late at night I did not pursue the matter—by the noble Baroness, Lady Serota. I do not intend to pursue the Secretary of State for Wales to-day; he has plenty of troubles on his plate at the moment and I do not want to add to them.

The question I would ask is this. These people to whom the Minister can delegate his responsibility naturally include the Pharmaceutical Society. As the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, said, they are experts in this field, and one would accept that. Then there is "any food and drugs authority". I do not know who are included in that phrase, but I presume it would be county councils and people of that kind. There is also "the council of any county district which is not a food and drugs authority". That again is an elected body.

Then we come to the odd one, "the overseers of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple". This is a body of distinguished gentlemen, all of whom, as far as I am aware, are practising lawyers, apart from the judges. The Benchers of the two Inns presumably appoint the overseers—or perhaps they are the overseers. Why are they intended to have this great responsibility? I was for years a ratepayer in the Inner Temple. I never had a vote to elect anybody to the Bench. I had a vote, so far as I remember, to the City Council, the Corporation of the City of London. Obviously they have some responsibilities in the Inner and Middle Temples. Therefore, I should have thought that, knowing how anxious the Labour Government are to be democratic, they would more willingly allow the Corporation of the City of London to handle these problems—it is, after all, a big and important and efficient food and drugs authority—rather than the overseers of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple.

It may be that these overseers are not appointed by and responsible to the Benchers at all; they may be responsible to the Corporation of the City of London. In that case, it is rather odd that they should be singled out, because presumably the Corporation of the City of London is a food and drugs authority. At first sight it seems to me that it is no more sensible to allow these highly distinguished gentlemen who arc all lawyers, Benchers of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple, to be responsible for these functions than it would be to ask the members of the Council of the Law Society to be responsible for what goes on in Chancery Lane; or for the surgeons and physicians who are all eminent gentlemen, members of the General Medical Council, to be responsible for what goes on in Cavendish Square or wherever their headquarters may be. I think we ought to have some information on this point.


My Lords, I do not want to follow the references which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has made to the Labour Government—he seems to me to be very eager to give them a few jabs with his hypodermic needle occasionally. But when people are urgently needing a packet of aspirin or a box of Beecham's pills I do not think they trouble very much about what the Labour Party said in its Manifesto about the Secretary of State for Wales.

I want to take this opportunity of saying that I think the changes my noble friend is putting forward are excellent. They improve the Bill and the administration of the measure very considerably indeed. I have always felt that the Pharmaceutical Society was hardly the body to be an all-powerful inspector, not merely inspecting the way in which the Act was being carried out in chemists' shops owned or managed by its own members, but also herbalists' establishments, as the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, mentioned, and the various supermarkets and little shops around the corner where the harmless type of drug and embrocation is regularly sold.

Now that we have new bodies brought into the administration, the food and drugs organisation and the public health departments of local authorities, I am wondering whether my noble friend has yet approached these bodies and acquainted them with the additional responsibilities that are to fall upon them and the additional expenditure which they will undoubtedly have to raise from their ratepayers because of the additional staffs that they will have to engage. I am directly interested in the Association of Public Health Inspectors, a very admirable body of men, hard-working, conscientious, faithful to the very highest demands that are made upon them. I happen to be a Vice-President of the Public Health Inspectors Association. Perhaps I can hardly pay a higher tribute to their respectability than to mention that. But I do not want them suddenly to find that this quite onerous extra duty has been imposed upon them, and I have risen merely to ask my noble friend whether he has approached them or whether he will be doing so in the near future?

4.10 p.m.


My Lords, before anything else, may I remind the House that Lord Sandford said that his noble friend Lord Coleraine last night spoke on behalf of British Drug Houses I see that the noble Lord is not here. I am sure the whole House would agree that no noble Lord ever speaks on behalf of a commercial interest, that this is a Chamber of entirely independent legislators who declare their interest but in no way further that by their presence in this House.

Lord Sandford suggested that we should discuss his Amendment No. 45A, being an Amendment to one of mine at the same time. I entirely agree that we should do that, and I will now proceed to do so. The effect of his Amendment, I would remind the House, is to prevent the proposed regulations from specifying the Pharmaceutical Society as the enforcing body in regard to enforceme it anywhere else except in registered pharmacies. So far as I can sec at then moment, this is close to the probable way in which the regulations in question will deal with this matter; and had Lord Sardford's Amendment been technically acceptable from a drafting point of view I should have advised the House to accept it. Unfortunately, it is not, because it would be a proviso to the provision defining the "appropriate Minister", and a better place to have put it would have been to amend Amendment No. 39. But this is just a drafting technicality. It is perfectly "O.K." so far as the substance goes and I on behalf of the Government willingly accept the substance and assure the noble Lord that my right honourable friend the Minister of Health expects to assign the enforcement functions in question in the way that the noble Lord likes —or rather, my right honourable friend expects not to assign them in the way that the noble Lord does not want. I hope that with that assurance he may be content to withdraw his Amendment to my Amendment when we come to that point.

As to Clause 66, I do not think that this is the right time to go into detail on a clause upon which discussion has already taken place. Yesterday was the time to do it. I take the point of the noble Lord about the shortness of discussion. I do not want to be at all procrustean about this, but simply because I believe we might be doing too much on the Floor of the House, going too far into detail, I would suggest to the noble Lord that he might remember that Clause 66 can be amended in another place because it has been amended here. There is a peg for the Commons to hang Amendments on. He has friends there, and if between now and then I or officials from the Ministry of Health can be of any help to him in private conversations by which any improvement can be made by agreement on both sides, then we shall be happy to do so. I think that is a better way of proceeding than going into detail here and now.

I am glad that my noble friend Lord Chorley is broadly content with what is proposed for the herbalists. I can assure him that the Minister will consult about the regulations not only with the National Association of Herbal Medicine but also with the other two herbalist organisations who are in the field. My heart was warmed through and through by the cordial remarks from the Liberal Front Bench about the timing of this matter. I am surprised and delighted.

The question was raised about the overseers in the Inner and Middle Temples. Why are they mentioned in the Amendment? They are there because they are the public health authority for the Inner and the Middle Temple. The City of London is not mentioned because it is a food and drugs authority and therefore comes under the generality of "food and drugs authority" in the phrase immediately before that, and the City is the food and drugs authority for the Inner and Middle Temples. So if anybody were to take the unlikely course of setting up a mixed drug store or other type of shop in the Temples, he might be liable to be controlled either by the City as the food and drugs authority or by the Inner or the Middle Temple overseers as the public health authority—or, indeed, by the Minister as concurrent authority. And if any prescriptions were to be made up there they could be controlled by the Pharmaceutical Society in that respect. But this is a matter which no doubt can be left for detailed consideration at a later stage.

I think that concludes the points that I was asked to answer, except that of my noble friend Lord Leatherland, who asked about local authority associations. The answer is that they were approached about the original Clause 107(4). There has not been time to approach them on the actual Amendments now before the House, but the Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Councils Association have let us know that they would not object to powers being taken to make these regulations—this after they had heard the criticisms in the Commons. Of course, as to what the regulations themselves should specify, we shall be in touch with the associations in consultation in the usual way, as we shall with other bodies concerned.


My Lords, my noble friend gave a most satisfactory answer about the Association of Local Authorities, but perhaps he forgot that I also referred to the Public Health Inspectors' Association who are the people who will do the job. Have they been approached? If not, will he approach them? That is all.


I understand that they have not yet been approached, but it is clear that their opinion will have to be taken, either directly or conceivably through one of the local authority associations. I am not sure which will be best.


My Lords, may I make one or two remarks? I would first of all say that throughout this Bill everybody has been profoundly struck by the extent to which the noble Lord's right honourable friend has been willing to listen to representations that have been made to him, both inside and outside the House. I think that as a consequence the Bill is now much more widely acceptable than it was when it was first introduced. We are all conscious of that. At the same time, it seems rather odd that matters of this kind, as to where responsibility should be laid, should not have been worked out fully before the Bill is finally completed. It is only fair to say that, because, while fully realising the burden that has been placed upon the Minister by what is, after all, a heavy Bill with a great many ramifications and there being a lot of people to see about it, one would have liked to see a completely definite laying of responsibility in the Bill itself. That is a much better way of dealing with things, although we appreciate the Minister's willingness to decide these matters after consultation, particularly in regard to enforcement.

I would mention one other point. In this Bill we are dealing with Scottish problems at the same time as with English and Welsh, and some of the Amendments that the noble Lord is moving concern Scotland. I must confess that I am not very well aware to what extent negotiations have been going on in Scotland, what bodies have been negotiating in Scotland, or whether on these matters it has been sufficient to negotiate with the Minister and subsequently those negotiations have been discussed between the Minister and his right honourable friend the Secretary of State. In particular, in view of the differing situation in Scotland so far as administration and enforcement are concerned, I am not sure what are the proper means of carrying out the negotiations or how the consultations will be carried out in Scotland on the particular point of enforcement. I do not know whether the noble Lord can help us on that. I saw the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, in the Chamber a short time ago but he does not seem to be available at the moment. I would only express the hope that in those circumstances the assurances that the noble Lord has given that consultations as to enforcement will take place for England and Wales will also apply to Scotland.


My Lords, with the leave of the House, may I say that virtually all the consultations that I have been talking about and giving assurances about are statutorily bound to take place under, I think, Clause 126, and where the consultation cannot be held with a national body as well as a separate Scottish body, that is as binding as it is in the case of the English body.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.22 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 39 to 45 together.

Amendments moved—

Page 103, line 25, leave out subsection (4) and insert— ("(4) Regulations made jointly by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food may provide that any such body to which this subsection applies as may be specified in the regulations shall, to such extent as in the case of that body may be so specified, and either—

  1. (a)in respect of England and Walcs generally, or
  2. (b)in respect of such area in England or Wales as may be so specified,
have power concurrently with the appropriate Minister, or be under a duty concurrently with him, to enforce any regulations made; under section 66 of this Act. (4A) Subsection (4) of this section applies to the following bodies, that is to say, the Pharmaceutical Society, any food and drugs authority, the council of any county district which is not a food and drugs author ty, and the overseers of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple.")

Page 103,line 38, leave out paragraph (a).

Page 104, line 1, leave out from ("52") to ("58") in line 3 and insert ("and")

Page 104,line 6, leave out from ("Act") to first ("in") in line 8.

Page 104,line 14, at end insert— ("() Regulations made jointly by the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food may provide that, in respect of each area in England or Wales for which there is a food and drugs authority, the Pharmaceutical Society, or the food and drugs authority for that area, or both the Society and that authority, to such extent as, in the case of that Society or authority, the regulations may provide, shall have power concurrently with the appropriate Minister, or shall be under a duty concurrently with him, to enforce the provisions of sections 53 and 54 of this Act")

Page 104, line 24, after ("power") insert ("conferred or imposed by or")

Page 104, line 36, after ("by") insert ("or under").—(Lord Kennel.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

LORD SANDFORD had given Notice of an Amendment, No. 45A:

Page 105, line 4, at end insert— ("Provided that nothing in this section or in any regulations made thereunder shall place the Pharmaceutical Society under a duty to enforce, or empower them to enforce, the provisions of section 66 of this Act except in the application of those provisions to registered Pharmacies.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his acceptance in principle of this Amendment. Do I understand from what he said that Her Majesty's Government will incorporate it as a further Amendment to their Amendments in another place? Perhaps he could answer that question in a moment. I agree that this is not the moment to discuss Clause 66 in detail, but as we are near the final stages of this Bill could he say at this moment whether he takes my point about putting the contents of what was his Amendment No. 30 yesterday in subsection (2), rather than in subsection (1), or will he write to me and say in a letter what he would have said if I had moved my manuscript Amendment?

The noble Lord invited me to withdraw my Amendment 45A in the light of his assurance, but of course I have not actually moved it. If I had moved it, or had been going to move it, I would have pointed out that there is a misprint in it, and that the last line or so should read "except in the application of these provisions to registered pharmacies". Perhaps the noble Lord would just answer those two points before I say formally that I will not move the Amendment.


My Lords, I should hope that the assurance I have given the noble Lord, that the situation which would have been achieved by Amendment 45A is that which the Minister will achieve under the regulations, would suffice without my having to give him a further assurance that the Government will move its own Amendment in the House of Commons in order to achieve that. Of course, if it does not suffice, Amendments may be moved from either side of the House of Commons. On the question of Clause 66 I should prefer, if the noble Lord agrees, to pursue this extremely abstruse point in correspondence, simply for the sake of other noble Lords.


My Lords, may I ask, on the point of Scotland, whether what he has said will apply to Scotland so far as this particular matter is concerned? Can he give exactly the same assurance so far as Scotland is concerned as he has given in regard to England and Wales.


Yes, my Lords.


Amendment No. 45A not moved.

Clause 108 [Enforcement in Scotland]:


My Lords, I beg to move Amendments Nos. 46 to 50 together. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 105, line 9, after ("(2)") insert ("and (3) and (5)").

Page 105, line 11, after ("Minister") insert ("or to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food acting jointly").

Page 105, line 15, leave out from ("authority") to ("or") in line 17.

Page 105, line 22, at end insert— ("() Regulations made by the Secretary of State may provide that, to such extent as may be specified in the regulations—

  1. (a) the Pharmaceutical Society, in respect of Scotland generally, or in respect of such area in Scotland as may be so specified,
  2. (b) a local authority within the meaning of section 26(4) of the Food and Drugs (Scotland) Act 1956, in respect of their area,
shall have power concurrently with the Secretary of State, or be under a duty concurrently with him, to enforce any regulations made under section 66 of this Act.')

Clause 109, page 105, line 43, leave out subsection (3) and insert— ("() For the purpose of performing that duty in relation to the provisions of sections 53 and 54 of this Act and any regulations made under section 66 of this Act within the area of any health authority, the Minister may make arrangements or give directions whereby the health authority, to such extent as the arrangements or directions may provide, shall have power concurrently with the Minister, or shall be under a duty concurrently with him, to enforce those provisions and regulations.")—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.


My Lords, Amendment No. 51 is a Northern Ireland drafting Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Clause 109, page 106, line 24, leave out from ("(8)") to ("and") in line 25, and insert ("any reference to the appropriate Minister were a reference to the Minister within the meaning of this section").—(Lord Kennet.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, with the leave of the House, I would beg to move Amendments 52 to 54 inclusive and Amendment No. 79.

Amendments moved— Clause 110, page 107, line 6, leave out ("in accordance with") and insert ("by or under any provisions of"). Clause 110, page 107, line 19, leave out ("in accordance with") and insert ("by or under any provisions of"). Clause 1l1, page 108, line 32, leave out from ("which") to end of line 33 and insert ("by or under any provisions of sections 107 to 109 of this Act an enforcement authority is required or empowered"). Schedule 3, page 136, line 37, leave out ("in accordance with") and insert ("by or under any provisions of").—(LordKennet.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 15):


My Lords, I beg to move this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a. —(Lord Kennet.)


My Lords, before we give this Bill a Third Reading I wonder if I might ask the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, one question. It concerns the section of the Bill from Clause 32 to Clause 39 which deals with experiments on animals. I am not one of those who considers that all experiments on animals are wrong. I do not suppose there are many of us who like them but, on the other hand, if they give better health to human beings then I think there are not many of us who would deny that they are necessary. In the past, of course, the great evil has been that there has not been a great deal of control over such experiments, and I am very happy to see that in this Bill there is much more provision for control. What I want to ask the noble Lord is whether there is any provision for the enforcement of that control, whether there are inspectors who are able to enter laboratories where tests are going on, or whether any provision has been made for enforcement in that way, because I feel that it is only in that way we shall ever see enforcement taking place.


Yes, my Lords, there is provision for enforcement.


My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord.


My Lords, if there is going to be no discussion on the Motion, That the Bill do now pass, there are just one or two things that I should like to say on Third Reading. If, however, we are to have a discussion on the Motion, That the Bill do now pass I will reserve what I was going to say. Does the Minister propose to say anything on the final Motion?


My Lords, I have no more to say.


My Lords. I should just like to say, as this is the final stage of this Bill, that I am sure those of us who have been connected in any way with Sir Derrick Dunlop's Committee would wish to thank him, and the members of his Committee, for the excellent work they have done during the time the Committee has been in being. As your Lordships will know, the Committee had the closest co-operation with the pharmaceutical industry under a voluntary arrangement, which is now being superseded by the compulsory arrangement in this Bill. Mention of this voluntary co-operation was made in the recent Annual Report of the Ministry of Health (Cmnd. 3702), presented to Parliament in July, 1968, but certainly, so far as the section I have referred to is concerned, no mention was made by the Minister of the work, in a complimentary manner, of the Committee of Sir Derrick Dunlop or of the industry. I feel that as this voluntary arrangement is now to be superseded by the new methods set out in this Dill it would be a good thing to give a word of thanks to those who carried out this procedure so well over the last few years.

The other point is that in all discussions on pharmaceutical products during the last few years there has been a treat concentration—and one can understand why—upon the products sold to the National Health Service. But in fact the National Health Service takes up something like 39 per cent. of the actual value of the pharmaceutical produces as a whole produced in this country, some 27 per cent. go to export, the veterinary medicine side amounts to 17 per cent., and then there are private sales. The total expenditure on medicines in the United Kingdom in 1966, which are the latest figures I have, was £267 million. Of that figure, £188 million was for medicines prescribed for the National Health Service, and the other £79 million was spent by the public mainly on medicines bought without a doctor's prescription. One sees the importance of some of the provisions in this Bill when one realises that £79 million of pharmaceutical products are sold over the counter to the public—that is, for self-medication or medication without prescription.

It is surprising that two out of every three ailments suffered by the public are not treated by a doctor. So even in this Welfare State, at a time when we have this enormous machinery to help people, apparently two out of three who suffer from some kind of illness do not consult a doctor. Of course, in many cases the illnesses are mild. Perhaps it is a good thing that the public do not always consult a doctor. If they did, then the general practitioner service, and possibly the Hospital Service, would be completely submerged and those who were really seriously ill could never be treated in time. The increasing number of people who do not take advantage of the National Health Service and who are outside its scope is a matter which should be investigated. I wonder whether the Minister has read an interesting publication from the Office of Health Economics called Without Prescription—A Study of the Role of Self Medication.


My Lords, I am not quite sure whether I am in order. I should like to support what my noble friend opposite has said, but I am not quite clear whether the Minister wishes to reply to that point now, or on Third Reading.


We are now on Third Reading.


Then I should like to say a word or two in support of what was said by my noble friend opposite. Here we have the difficulty of some contradiction of intellect and emotion. We all recognise that experiments on animals have been of value in the treatment of human beings, and that therefore one places human beings first. On the other hand, it is not only a matter of emotion. There are those of us who take the view that all life is a spiritual unity, and that this extends to animals as well as human beings. One sometimes wonders, when one sees television programmes or reads about experiments on animals, whether they are justified from a philosophic point of view and whether we have the right to exploit them and to make them suffer for our purposes.

I do not pretend that we can resolve the problem now, but a case has been put by my noble friend for very careful supervision of the experiments which are being made. I should like to support him in asking whether there is in the Bill sufficient inspection and supervision to satisfy those of us who have rather uneasy consciences on this point.


My Lords, since this is the last opportunity we shall have to discuss this large and important Bill, I should like first of all to thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, and his noble friend for the co-operation which they have shown in the Bill, particularly on my Amendment to Clause 5. There is one question I should like to ask the Minister. Can he say how soon the Medicines Commission will be set up? This legislation is most important and far-reaching, and whatever views may be held about a Medicines Commission they will have a great deal to do and it is vital for them to get on with the job. Fortunately, their terms of reference seem to be rather easier and more specified than they were when the Bill started out. We all wish this measure well. I hope it will not sound churlish if I say that we would have welcomed rather more time to discuss it in detail, particularly in view of the large number of new Amendments which have been moved, but that now is past history. I wish the Bill a successful passage.


My Lords, as I personally am interested in the last Bill which appears on the Order Paper for to-day, I shall not waste any time. Nevertheless, as one who has observed the progress of this Bill from the Government Back Benches, I should like to pay a well deserved tribute to the high standard of ability which has been shown by my noble friends Lord Kennet and Lady Serota, both of whom must have put in an enormous amount of study on these intricate matters. They have been able to handle nearly every question as it has come up without any delay, and whenever there has been need for delay they have promised to inquire into matters which have been raised.

I have two questions to ask. When will the Ministry be issuing a general list of drugs and medicaments which can be sold in supermarkets and in the little shop round the corner? I do not expect my noble friend to give that list now—aspirins, alkaseltzer, and that kind of thing—but can he indicate in general terms whether the little shops and the supermarkets will lose much of the trade which they have been carrying on up to the present? If they are going to lose only a few things which are regarded to be on the borderline and fit only for sale by properly qualified pharmacists, they will have no cause for complaint. But if half their shelves are going to be stripped, then they may have a good reason for complaint.

The other point relates to paragraph (c) of Clause 52. It appears from that provision that medicaments of the kind which are on the non-general list, that is to say the more perilous ones, can be served by an unqualified person so long as he is under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist. Those of us who know anything about chemists' shops know that the qualified pharmacist is usually in a back room busy with his National Health prescriptions and has not his eye continually upon the bonny young girl who happens to be serving these things over the counter. I am wondering whether this is a little risky. I have had some personal experience of this. At the age of 12 I was an odd job boy in a chemist's shop. I was put into that position because my parents had been planning to apprentice me to pharmacy. Unfortunately, the family had not enough money to carry that scheme through, so here am I to-day, my Lords, instead of serving face powder and lipsticks over the counter. One of my jobs in the lunch hour used to be to weigh up epsom salts in quarter pound packets—a pretty harmless task. But I also used to weigh up quarter pound packets of oxalic acid. If any of your Lordships have also been chemists' errand boys, you will realise that epsom salts and oxalic acid are both colourless or whitish crystals, and mistakes could easily be made. So if, under paragraph (c) of Clause 52, there is to be a possibility of non-qualified people serving anything which has an element of danger about it, then I hope that the Department will have a look at it again before they issue any regulations.


My Lords, when I saw the noble Lord and the reader of the House and the Chief Whip dancing around each other just now, I thought we were going to have some terrible last minute hitch. I am sure that all we wish to do now is to send this Bill on its way with our best wishes.


My Lords, I have been asked a number of questions which I shall try to answer as quickly as I can. I have already mentioned the Dunlop Committee and I said on Second Reading what a good job it has done. I do so again, and I thank Sir Derrick Dunlop on behalf of the Government. But I think it would be wrong to say that it had not been done before. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, would not want his remarks in Hansard taken to mean that people should medicate themselves and not go to doctors. I know that was not his intention.

To my noble friend Lord Brockway, I would say that the Ministry of Agriculture supervise experiments on animals. They have been doing some of this in past, and they will be doing more of it in the future. I do not know of any evidence that this supervision is insufficient and I am not sure that my noble friend does, either. The noble Lord, Lord Auckland, asked when the Medicines Commission will be set up. I would say that this will be the very first task as soon as the Bill becomes law.

To my noble friend Lord Leatherland, I would say that I cannot put a date on when the general list will be ready, because it has to be the fruit of discussions with the Commission, the expert committees and all the interests concerned. But it will be one of the first tasks undertaken by the Commission and the committees when they are set up. On the question as to loss of trade, I do not think any trader need fear that his shelves are going to be stripped by the coming into force of this general sales list. It will probably very largely sanctify the present custom and get it on to a statutory basis. Having said that, let me join with all noble Lords who agree that this is a good Bill, and wish it God speed in its passage back to the House of Commons, and a swift passage from there back to us and thence into law for the general good of the people of this country.

On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.