Manufacture, marketing and supply

Part of Medicines and Medical Devices Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:30 pm ar 8 Mehefin 2020.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) 4:30, 8 Mehefin 2020

I beg to move amendment 17, in clause 13, page 8, line 22, at end insert—

“(k) enabling the Secretary of State to compile a register of representatives for non-UK manufacturers.”

Manufacturers of medical devices based outside the UK must designate a UK representative. This gives the Secretary of State the power to compile a list of them.

This is a brief and probing amendment based on something I picked up on the road, as it were, while talking to people in the sector about what they wanted to see from the Bill and the areas that we ought to go at. I have not been able to quite stand it up in the way that I would have liked, but I am sure the Minister will humour me, in the spirit of an open constructive dialogue.

At the moment, a medical device manufacturer that is not based in the UK has to have a UK representative—and it makes absolute sense that there should be someone who is accountable for the manufacturer’s actions and the impact of its products. However, the suggestion is that there may be inconsistencies as to who that person is, whether they are a genuine person of corporate interest in the company who is in a position to make or shape decisions or whether they were an appointee almost like a paper candidate. I picked that up in a couple of places, but it is anecdotal rather than something I could stand up, despite having done quite a bit of digging. I would be keen to know whether the Minister recognises that characterisation, or at least that risk.

I have not pushed the point too far in the amendment. All I am asking is that the Secretary of State would be able to make a register for the purposes of transparency. One of the suggestions was that an individual might be acting as a representative for multiple manufacturers, and that a register would help tease that out and give us a bit of transparency. I appreciate that there may be commercial sensitivities or personal identity issues, but I am sure that such issues could be managed in a sympathetic way. Indeed, I have not suggested any obligation that the register be public.

I am interested in the concept. Do we think it is a risk, and as we move into this brave new world, is this a chance to try to close that loop? Perhaps there is a better way to do it. I am interested in the Minister’s views on that.