§ Mr. Dalyell
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if, in view of the fact that research in the pharmaceutical industry in Great Britain is damaged by the effect of the patent laws on operational decisions of international companies operating therein, and of the increasing lead time between the discovery of a patentable medicine and its commercial development, he will introduce legislation to change the patent laws; and if he will make a statement;
(2) whether, since the procedures for testing and gaining acceptance for a new medicine have become more stringent, he will introduce legislation to reduce the period during which a pharmaceutical product can be marketed with full patent protection;
(3) if he will introduce legislation to repeal Section 41 of the Patents Act 1949 empowering the Controller of Patents to grant a non-patent holding competitor a licence to supply a patented pharmaceutical unless it appears to him that there are good reasons for withholding the application;
(4) what proposals he has to strengthen the patent system along the lines suggested by the Banks Committee recommendations.
§ Sir G. Howe
I have been asked to reply.
I hope to be able to introduce legislation to strengthen the patent system along the lines suggested by the Banks Committee.