Fees, offences, powers of inspectors

Part of Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 pm ar 8 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) 3:30, 8 Mehefin 2020

I beg to move amendment 11, in clause 5, page 3, line 39, at end insert—

“(1A) The Secretary of State must publish a fees regime within three months of the date on which this Act receives Royal Assent.”

This amendment requires the Secretary of State to publish their proposed list of fees in respect of human medicines.

It is a pleasure to resume serving under your chairship, Mr Davies. We move to the rapid-fire round, which will almost inevitably lead to me at some point giving a speech to a previous or future amendment—I am sure colleagues will be gentle and generous with me when I do so. This short probing amendment relates to fees in the discharge of the human medicines sphere. The principle is that, in the exercising of clause 1(1) it is conceivable that the Secretary of State, the Department and the Government in general will incur costs, so clause 5(1)(a) allows for provision to be made to exercise a function to charge for that, which makes perfect sense.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has previously worked on a cost recovery basis, which makes a lot of sense, but the amendment is designed to test whether it would not be better to have a comprehensive, clear and consistent fees regime. The MHRA and the Government in general have a tough job against a potential occasional big foe in the pharmaceutical industry—or big partner to work with, at least. I assume, but would like to hear from the Minister on the record, that the expectation is that there will be equal pay for an equal job, so a bigger firm that is better equipped to lobby would not end up paying smaller fees than a smaller firm, simply because that firm was better at arguing or making its case. Is cost recovery still in general the preferred option? If so, might it not strengthen the Secretary of State’s hand if that were put in the Bill?