§ Mr. Pavitt
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the medicines inspectorate is taking any steps to prevent the practice of parallel importing of drugs; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
It would not be appropriate for the medicines inspectorate to act to prevent parallel importing of drugs. A United Kingdom scheme for the licensing of parallel imported medicinal products was introduced on 16 May 1984. To date over 2,100 applications for parallel import product licences have been received and about 75 per cent. of these have been processed resulting in the grant of 700 product licences for parallel imports.
It is not an offence to import and hold in store medicinal products from the European Community which have been licensed in a Community country. An offence is committed if such products are marketed in the United Kingdom without a product licence under the Medicines Act 1968.
A close watch is kept for alleged unlicensed medicines and the medicines inspectorate plays its part in this. All reports of alleged breaches are followed up. Enforcement proceedings are considered if there is prima facie evidence that the terms of the Medicines Act or of EC legislation have been breached.