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 Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:30, 8 Mehefin 2020

It is a pleasure to be back this afternoon. I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising the important issue of fees in his amendment, and I recognise the intent of that probe. I am sure we agree that it is important that all new fees for human medicines are set in an open, fair and transparent way. I want to reassure him that what the amendment seeks to achieve is already standard practice and is happening. I will rapidly set out the steps already in place to ensure the fairness, openness and transparency that underpin the fees regime for human medicines.

The current fees have been subject to consultation and are provided for in legislation. They are published online and publicly available at gov.uk. All of that is supported by a formal and standardised process for reviewing existing fees and for the introduction of new fees for human medicines. The standard approach for setting statutory fees is full cost recovery, as the hon. Member alluded to, which means that fees must be set at a cost that reflects the activity involved in carrying out such a specific regulatory function.

The full cost recovery approach is set out by Her Majesty’s Treasury in its “Managing public money” guidance, which ensures that the Government neither profit at the expense of consumers nor make a loss for taxpayers to subsidise. Therefore, fees cannot be set arbitrarily, and the fee must reflect the cost of the regulatory work carried out. I think that goes some way to addressing the hon. Member’s probe on size.

Existing fees for human medicines are kept under active review by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. The amendment is specifically concerned with new fees that might be introduced under the powers in the Bill. It is already a requirement that new fee proposals are subject to consultation, and that duty continues for fee proposals under the Bill. We will publish impact assessments with the new proposals, which will set out the effects of any changes to fees in the UK on Government, industry or the general public. Her Majesty’s Treasury will be engaged throughout the fee proposal process, and any proposals for new fees will be subject to approval from HMT. It is also standard practice for the MHRA to engage with industry and trade bodies through regular meetings to discuss any new fee proposals that might be coming up.

I trust my explanation has reassured the hon. Member for Nottingham North that the requirements are and will continue to be in place so that fees for human medicines are fair, open and transparent. I therefore ask him to withdraw his amendment.