Power to make regulations about veterinary medicines

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 12, in clause 8, page 5, line 17, at end insert “services.”

This amendment broadens the range of issues that the Secretary of State must consider to include access to the relevant services to dispense veterinary medicines.

I did not want us to miss out the veterinary medicines part of the Bill, because it is important. We are a nation of animal lovers and we are keen that the laws we make are sympathetic to all living beings. The issue was also raised on Second Reading, because it has an impact on the food chain, so we must be mindful of setting an effective regime, as I know the Government are keen to do.

The amendment is simple. Again, I hope that it is redundant, but I want to test that with the Minister. There is a clear read-across between parts 1 and 2 of the Bill, which is that the powers being reserved for human medicines are largely the same as those being reserved for veterinary medicines. The word that I would like to be added in clause 8(2)(b) after

“the availability of veterinary medicines” is “services”, because one way in which veterinary medicine differs from human medicine is that we do not have a universal service, so that access point is an important consideration for the Secretary of State.

I have not drafted the amendment elegantly enough. When we get to amendment 13, we will discuss something called the cascade, which was new to me until a couple of weeks ago. The principle of the cascade is that, whereas in human medicine we have expectations that certain medicines will be used to treat certain conditions and doctors do not have a massive amount of latitude to go outside that, in veterinary medicine, if such a thing is not available, the veterinarian can fall down the chain and use a different painkiller—perhaps a human painkiller. That is obviously important.

I wonder—and this is what I am testing with the amendment—whether that creates a possible inequity. If there is better access to veterinary medicines or supplies in certain communities, perhaps rural versus urban, that could create not a two-tier service, but a slightly different service from the one we want. It would therefore be useful for the Secretary of State to have regard to the services, as well as the physical ability to get pills, potions or whatever. That is all the amendment seeks to test and I am interested to hear what the Minister says.