Power to make regulations about human medicines

Part of Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:45 am ar 8 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) 11:45, 8 Mehefin 2020

I take the point about not wanting to rely on primary legislation all the time. I would be much more comfortable—in this Bill in its entirety, but certainly in any future legislation—with provisions for technical updates. Nobody would think that we would need to return to primary legislation, especially not in an emergency, but I do not think that anything in the clause says that would have to be the case. I would probably accept that two years is too short a period, given the amount of work that has to be done prior to something coming into law. However, that might be an argument for a greater sunset clause rather than none at all.

I did not quite agree that nearly everything would be covered under the affirmative procedure. I am very happy to be wrong on this, but the delegated powers memorandum states, on clause 1 alone, that the scrutiny will be by the affirmative procedure

“with the exception of…the labelling and packaging of human medicines…advertising human medicines…prohibitions in the supply provisions for human medicines…the charging of fees in relation to human medicines” and emergency powers.

If we discount the emergency powers because of the need to move quickly, we are still talking about the labelling, advertising, prohibiting and charging of fees for human medicines. Those are quite significant areas that will not be covered under the affirmative procedure. That may be a distinction without a difference, given that fundamentally there are devices that the Opposition could use if we wanted those to get an airing. However, it is important that hon. Members know that not everything will be covered by the affirmative procedure except for some very small elements.

Finally, I really appreciate the clarity on the hub and spoke model, for which the Minister made a very strong case. The argument is going on sector-wide. I do not think that there has been much of a political conversation on it. I cannot remember it in the Conservative manifesto, but I might be wrong. It feels a little bit as though we have reached the conclusion without having done all the work behind it—the Minister may well have done; I mean more generally.