HL Deb 27 March 2002 vol 633 cc61-2WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether it is the licensing authority, the employer or the end user of an organophosphate pesticide, veterinary medicine or human medicine who is ultimately liable for damage to human health following the finding by Cherry N. et al at the University of Manchester that some individuals have a genetic susceptibility to such damage. [HL3344]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

There are responsibilites on each of the relevant parties at every stage of the approval, supply and use of such products. For pesicides and veterinary medicines, the registering authority must be satisfied that a product has no unacceptable human health effects (as well as animal health and environmental considerations) and that it is efficacious, before it can be recommended for approval by Ministers and allowed onto the market. As regards to medicines for human use, the licensing authority is responsible for the issue of marketing authorisations. Marketing authorisations are made on the basis of a product's safety in the normal conditions of use, therapeutic efficacy, and qualitative and quantitative composition in the light of the information available.

Suppliers of those products must provide information on labels and packaging in accordance with the conditions of approval set by Ministers. This will include instructions for proper use, and hazard classification.

Employers of those using such products, the self-employed and the users have responsibilities under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH), which requires among other things that employers carry out a risk assessment and put in place appropriate control measures including preventing or reducing exposure to hazardous chemicals. Civil or criminal liability may arise where any such party does not fulfil its legal responsibility.