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Proprietary Medicines Bill Hl

Volume 41: debated on Friday 6 August 1920

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Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.— (Viscount Astor.)

My Lords, as I was unavoidably absent during the Second Reading debate, and as I was instrumental in getting the Select Committee appointed upon whose Report the Bill is founded and as I sat for nearly three years on that Committee considering the problem which tins Bill is designed to meet, perhaps you will allow me to say that I hope there will be no serious attempt on the part of your Lordships' House to whittle down the admittedly drastic provisions of this important Bill. Probably never has such a tissue of fraud and falsehood been disclosed to any Parliamentary Committee of either House as was disclosed to us on that Select Committee. Nor, probably, has there ever been told such a sad tale of human misery, mortality, and breakdown of health, following the deception of ignorant and credulous persons, particularly those who belong to those classes represented by domestic servants and shop assistants. This deception is largely practised through the medium of advertisements appearing in the less reputable newspapers. I emphasise the "less reputable newspapers," because I am bound to admit that, through the medium of Viscount Burnham, the particular class of newspapers which he and Lord Riddell represent in this House were to a great extent exculpated in the course of the evidence given to us, and if ever there was a good champion of any interest who sat upon a Parliamentary Committe and did his best to secure that the reasonable interests of that class should be safeguarded, that person was the noble Viscount.

I want to remind your Lordships that in no civilised country in the world is there less protection afforded against the class of imposition which this Bill deals with than in the United Kingdom. Even in our own Colonies and Dependencies there is far more effective protection for the credulous public against this kind of deception and fraud. I hope your Lordships will welcome almost every provision in this Bill, and especially the provision which deals with those particularly noxious types of attempted cure—namely, the cure of incurable diseases and attempts to bring about abortion in women, by preparations all of which are poisonous and which must in the course of killing the fœtus, or child, either kill the mother or create permanent disablement or disease. I do hope, if only out of deference to the Committee which has devoted an enormous amount of time and trouble to get at the real truth of this problem, that you will strenuously resist any attempt to whittle down the provisions of the Bill.

My Lords, I should like to ask one or two questions before we go into Committee. The noble Viscount was good enough to afford us an opportunity of reading the Report of the Committee and I have refreshed my memory since the Second Reading debate. I would like to call his attention to their recommendation, namely—

"That a special Court or Commission be constituted with power to permit or to prohibit in the public interest, or on the ground of non. compliance with the law, the sale and advertisement of any patent, secret, or proprietary remedy."
This appears in the Bill in a much milder form. I think it is Clause 5 which prescribes the causes for which, and the manner in which, a registered owner shall be removed from the register, and I think that somewhere else in the Bill the reason given is, that "it is dangerous to health." The words "dangerous to health" or "injurious to health" are of a much narrower scope than the words of the Committee's recommendation, which are "in the public interest." It may well be in the public interest to prohibit medicines on the ground not necessarily that they are actually dangerous to health, but on the ground that they are swindles and fraudulent. I am aware of the fact that the noble Viscount said the Bill is not intended by the Government as a Bill to protect the pockets of the public, but is intended only as a means of protecting their health, and that may be his argument why these wider words are not included. But there may be other grounds under "public interest," and I do not see why that recommendation is excluded from the Bill.

There is a further recommendation of the Select Committee to the following effect—
"That it be a breach of the law to give a false trade description of any remedy, and that the following be a definition of a false trade description:— 'A statement, design or device regarding any article or preparation, or the drugs or ingredients, or substances contained therein, or the curative or therapeutie effect thereof, which is false or misleading in any particular."
Those provisions again I cannot find within the four corners of the Bill as drawn. I do not know whether the noble Viscount can point out any place where they do come. Then there is a smaller point which can conveniently be raised in Committee, but I should like to draw attention to it at this moment, because it seems to me somewhat a matter of principle. In Clause 5 (b) Regulations may be made "for regulating the manner in which applications for registration … may be made, including the payment of such fees as may be prescribed." It is left entirely to the ipse dixit of the Department to fix the fee at 5s. or £50 a time. I should have thought that it would be better to fix a minimum or a maximum, and put it in the Act of Parliament, and not give so large a power to the Department without having it mentioned in the actual Statute. The Depart- ment may make the fees anything they like from 1s., which I should think deplorable, to, say, £500, which I think some other Lords who seem to be supporting the medicine makers would think to be deplorable.

My Lords, in the main the Bill carries out the recommendations of the Select Committee. It does not, I understand, contain any point which was not recommended definitely and specifically by the Committee. Certain recommendations of the Select Committee have not been included in the Bill which is now before your Lordships, because they were not really matters affecting the Ministry of Health; matters, for instance, connected with the Stamp Act. it understand it is very possible that legislation may follow if, and when, this particular Bill is put on the Statute Book, dealing with that portion of the Committee's recommendations. Then there is a second recommendation that the Indecent Advertisement Act be amended on the lines of Lord Braye's Bill. That is not in the interest of health but of public morals, and what we have done in our Bill is to try to prevent injury to public health. As the noble Earl said just now, and as I explained on the Second Reading, we are trying to limit the Bill to matters which are for the protection of the health of the public.

We have not attempted to deal with the question of profiteering. I am prepared to go into that later—on an Amendment which I see Lord Bledisloe has on the Paper. We have not dealt with the recommendations concerning fancy names, nor with the recommendation giving a period to the validity of names used as trade marks for drugs. Nor have we dealt with two other points which Lord Bledisloe is going to raise—namely, fictitious names and promises to return money. The Committee recommended an Amendment of the Merchandise Marks Act. This is a matter primarily affecting the Board of Trade, and for that reason also, this being a Ministry of Health Bill, we are not dealing with that particular point. Since the Committee issued their Report an Act has been passed dealing with venereal diseases. To that extent we have modified their recommendation.

As regards the question of fees, and the fixing of fees in the Act of Parliament, I think if the noble Earl will look through the Bill he will see that everything which is dealt with by Regulation—and it is by Regulation that we should fix the fee—is to be submitted to Parliament. It would probably be unwise, particularly with the changing value of money, to put into this Bill a definite fee, whether of 5s., 1s. or 10s. or whatever it might be, because we might find in a few years time that it was not a satisfactory fee. I think it is far better that it should be dealt with by Regulation, which has to be sanctioned by Parliament, so that there will be an opportunity for objection.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Control of manufacture and sale of proprietary medicines and appliances.

1.—(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to manufacture or prepare for sale any proprietary medicine or any proprietary surgical appliance unless—

  • (a) he is duly registered under this Act as the owner of the medicine or appliance, as the case may be, or is a person authorised by the registered owner to manufacture or prepare for sale the medicine or appliance on his behalf; and
  • (b) the medicine or appliance is a medicine or appliance duly registered under this Act; and
  • (c) in the case of a medicine, it is compounded of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register, or, in the case of an appliance, it corresponds with the specimen furnished under this Act to the registrar.
  • (2) It shall not be lawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, or have in his possession for sale, any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance which is not registered under this Act, or any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance registered under this Act unless it bears the number assigned to it in the register, or any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance which is manufactured elsewhere than in England or Wales unless the owner therof or his representative is duly registered under this Act.

    (3) If any person acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    (4) This section shall come into operation on the expiration of six months from the date on which notice is given by the Minister in the London Gazette that applications for registration under this Act will be received.

    had on the Paper an Amendment in subsection (1), after "sale," where that word first occurs, to insert "sell or offer for sale." The noble Lord said: I think I should be candid with regard to this Amendment. It was prepared by me hurriedly (and for that I have to apologise), and I could not possibly press it for two reasons: In the first place it is proposed in the wrong place, and if it were adopted at all it should appear in subsection (2) of Clause 1, and then in somewhat different words. My object in suggesting the Amendment was to meet a rather important matter. My desire in connection with this Bill is, as Lord Bledisloe has urged, that it should not be whittled away but made as strong and effective as it possibly can be, and I am rather afraid that unless the clause receives amendment somewhat on these lines it way not be quite satisfactory in practice. It is only with that object that I draw attention now to the Amendment which stands in my name, although I shall ask the noble Viscount who has charge of the Bill to consider the general matter afterwards, and to take such action as may be necessary on Report.

    The clause is constructed so as to make it penal for any person to prepare for sale, or to manufacture for sale, any proprietary medicine, unless it is composed of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register. That, of course, only affects the manufacturer. Sometimes the manufacturer may be himself a very small vendor of physic, who prepares and sells retail, but for the most part the mere retailer is not intended, as the clause stands, to be affected. It does appear to be drastic to suggest in the Amendment that the retailer should be made liable when perhaps he is innocent of any wrongdoing, while the manufacturer, front whom he buys these sometimes worthless and sometimes harmful preparations, may escape. But the provision as it stands, it seems to me, will not enable you to get at the manufacturer. A man starts a factory and puts all these things into the pot. How are you to find out, unless you have power of entry, whether he is doing it rightly or wrongly? I do not find anything in the Bill which, either directly or by incorporation of other Statutes, would enable any person authorised by the Ministry of Health to enter and inspect. If there be any such power I shall be content, hut if there is no such provision then I think it would be a matter requiring correction.

    It may be said, however, that if samples are purchased from retailers and are made up in wrappers purporting to have been issued by the manufacturers, the analysis of those samples might possibly be evidence against the manufacturer or evidence under subsection (1). On that I do not seek to dogmatise. It may or may not he evidence, but it would certainly appear to me, if you want to be quite sure of making it evidence, that you should do so by an express clause in the Statute. I can certainly imagine, speaking without any desire to be dogmatic upon it, great practical difficulties in finding evidence against the manufacturer. My suggestion for dealing with it may be too drastic. It would not be too drastic for my own view, because I think that anything which prevents the sale of these things altogether would be most desirable. But I do not imagine that your Lordships would be prepared to go beyond the provisions dealing with the manufacture. At the same time experience in connection with the Food and Drugs Act has shown, I think, that the only practical way of getting at these things is by catching the person who has the article on sale, and if that person has a grievance against any manufacturer let him settle it with that manufacturer.

    I will not, however, now move the Amendment which, I frankly admit, is crude and inappropriate. But the point I have in my mind is not unimportant. I do not think the clause at it stands provides the necessary machinery for getting at the concocter of these nostrums in a so-called manufactory. I would suggest that there should be a power of entry, or at any rate that there should be an express provision that when there is an analysis of the contents, that analysis should be evidence against the manufacturer of the offence contained in subsection (1)

    I gather that the noble and learned Lord proposes to put down other Amendments on the Report Stage, so that perhaps it will only be necessary for me now to say that his Amendments will receive very careful consideration. But he is quite right in saying that the present Amendment would not do at all.

    If I understand the noble Lord's point, it does want a little answering. I think that perhaps the noble Viscount might consider it now. What I understand the noble Lord to mean is this. Under subsection (1) you may not manufacture this medicine unless it is corn-pounded of the proper ingredients contained in the register. Subsection (2) deals not with the manufacturers of the medicine, but with the person who sells it, and subsection (2) does not do anything to him for selling a medicine which is not compounded of the proper ingredients. should be glad to have it confirmed that the retailer who receives the thing wrapped up, prepared for sale with the Government stamp on it, and sells it as he gets it, is not to be made responsible if what is in the bottle is not what the manufacturer says it contains.

    I understand the noble Lord has stated that it is not his intention to move the Amendment.

    It is not easy to withdraw an Amendment which has not been moved. I think it would be more convenient if we were to pass to the next Amendment.

    May I point out that if the noble Lord moved the Amendment that would regularise the discussion.

    I raised the matter simply to elicit the view of the House. I formally move.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 6, after ("sale") insert ("sell or offer for sale").—(Lord Shandon.)

    As we are now in order, will not the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill take the opportunity, of which Lord Emmott endeavoured to deprive him, and tell us what is his view.

    My view is that the Amendment down on the Paper, as the mover has quite recognised, is impossible. We propose to put the owner and the manufacturer on the register. We do not want to make it impossible, or unreasonably difficult, for the retailer to sell these various proprietary remedies, and the Amendment down on the Paper would, in fact, have made it almost impossible for the retailer to have been appointed as the person authorised by the registered owner to manufacture or prepare for sale the medicine or appliance on his behalf. I think we protect the public by saying in subsection (2) that it shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, any medicine which is not registered, and which does not bear the proper number so that it can be identified. In our opinion that gives the public a safeguard that is reasonable.

    We are right in thinking that the retailer is not responsible for the ingredients.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (1) (b), after "act" to insert "and under one designation only." The noble Lord said: In moving this Amendment I have in mind a certain part of the Report of the Select Committee (paragraph 16, on page vii), in which attention is drawn to the extreme inconvenience and, in some cases, personal harm, resulting from a large number of trade designations being given to a single drug or preparation. As a case in point, may I remind your Lordships of what is generally known as aspirin, a remedy with which I dare say many of your Lordships are familiar. The proper chemical name of that is acetyl-salicylic acid. But it is known in the trade under no less than five different names. Some of them are aspirin, saletin, salacetin, and xaxa. Another very serious case referred to in the Report of the Committee is that of acetanilide, which is referred to in another part of the Report as a most dangerous drug that ought not to be sold at all. This is, in fact, sold under a variety of names, some of which are antikamnia, ammonol, antitoxin, phenalgin, and phenolphthalein. Some of it comes from the United States and that which comes from America is wrongly called antikamnia. We attribute that name to a quite different English drug. There is another case mentioned, but I will not go into the details. This drug is sold in this country under no less than sixteen different trade names.

    Apart from the extreme inconvenience of this system, the register will become very little of a guide either to the Ministry or to the public if the same drug is entered in the register under a great variety of names. Moreover, I may remind the noble Viscount opposite that there are a certain number of persons who are well aware that certain drugs do not agree with them, or possibly their doctors tell them that they ought not to take them. Let me suggest that possibly aspirin is to some persons one of those drugs, and yet they may find themselves purchasing from a retail chemist exactly the same drug under a totally different designation. I do not feel happy about this Amendment, I am bound to say. I am not quite sure whether I have put it down in the right place. If there is no other way of meeting what I desire to meet I hope the noble Viscount, if he is not prepared to accept this Amendment, will accept the one which I have put down on page 4, line 22. That would require, in the case of a synthetic drug sold as a proprietory medicine, that the chemical name should appear on the label and in every advertisement relating thereto, just as is invariably the case in the case of seeds, where the botanical as well as the popular name is given. I suggest that the case here may be partly met by adopting a somewhat similar principle, and insisting on every packet or bottle containing the chemical name and the full trade designation, whatever that may be. In any case there is considerable inconvenience under the present system and I hope the noble Viscount will see his way to accept this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 14, after ("Act") insert ("and under one designation only.")—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I shall be prepared, when we reach the subsequent Amendment to which my noble friend refers, to accept that Amendment. I do not know if he wants me to discuss this particular one at this stage. On that understanding perhaps he does not want to press this particular Amendment.

    I do not desire to press this Amendment if the noble Viscount is prepared to accept the other. But I am bound to say that from the point of view of himself and of his own Ministry I should have thought the register would be a much better guide to the contents, if he were prepared to accept the Amendment which I am now moving.

    Does the noble Viscount desire to have the same substance registered on the official register under various names? Is it not desirable that there should be but one name for one substance?

    The difficulty, when you have different owners of these various remedies, made up entirely, if you like, of the same substances, is that there has been a great deal of money spent in establishing the good will, and it might be rather unfair and unreasonable to prejudice the owners of certain proprietary remedies by accepting the Amendment which is now before your Lordships. That is really my difficulty. Over a long period of time a considerable amount of money has been spent in creating a good will, and if I were to accept the Amendment of the noble Lord I should seriously prejudice people who have established a good will.

    Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (1) (c), to delete "it is compounded of the ingredients and in the proportions specified in the register," and insert "in respect of which a statutory declaration has been furnished to the registrar, it is compounded in accordance with the declaration." The noble Lord said: This Amendment is really anticipatory of the substantial Amendment which I desire to move on paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of Clause 5 of the Bill, and I presume it would be convenient to the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill, and to your Lordships, if I deal with the larger question at this point rather than with the narrower one.

    I would therefore ask your Lordships' attention to the subsequent Amendment on paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of Clause 5 of the Bill. I desire to strike out the words: "full particulars of the ingredients

    of the medicine and the proportions in which those ingredients are used have been furnished to the registrar, including," and to insert words which will make the paragraph read as follows:—

    "prohibiting the registration of any medicine unless and until there has been furnished to the registrar a statutory declaration: (i) that the medicine does not contain any article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908 (as originally enacted or as amended in the manner provided by section two of the Pharmacy Act, 1868); or (ii) specifying the article or articles mentioned in the said Schedule which are contained in the medicine and the proportions in which they are used; and".

    The preparation of many of these proprietary medicines is, of course, a secret. As the noble Viscount has reminded us in regard to the Amendment which has just been withdrawn, a good will has been built up in reference to them. A great deal of this trade is an export trade; yet if Clause 1 passes in its present form nobody will be allowed to manufacture for export in accordance with the law of the country to which the commodity manufactured is to be exported, if it contravenes the provisions of this Bill. I do not know what is intended as regards the export trade in reference to this matter. It is a very important matter. It would seem to me, with the little knowledge I have, a rather monstrous thing to interfere with a legitimate export trade in the way suggested in this Bill.

    I do not want to worry the question of procedure again, but in face of this I think it would have been better to give more time for the Committee stage of the Bill. It cannot be passed before the autumn session because it has to go to another place where they have no time to consider it, and I find myself in a very considerable difficulty. I have had no time to study the Bill. I am intensely busy at the present moment with a hundred and one different matters. I have no personal interest in the Bill at all and no previous knowledge of it, but the case put to me by the manufacturers seems to demand careful investigation at your Lordships' hands. When a body of manufacturers appeal to me, as the manufacturers of some of these articles have done—not at all in a spirit of opposition to the Bill as a whole, which contains very many useful provisions—approving much of the Bill, but honestly believing that a trade which they consider as legitimate is going to be ruined by some of the provisions of the Bill, I do feel bound to state, as best I can, the points that they urge against the provisions which are now contained in the Bill.

    I am all the more disturbed in regard to this matter because of the statements made by the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill in reference to the staff that would be required for the working of the Bill. The noble Viscount, if I did not misunderstand him in the Second Reading debate, led us to suppose that only a registrar would be required. On the one hand, we are told that a great trade is being conducted in this country with many maleficent effects, which requires careful control, which is producing articles the formulae for all of which require to be examined and the composition of many of which requires to be checked, and yet, on the other hand, we are told that only a registrar will be required as a new permanent official to deal with the whole question. Obviously, if there is a great evil—and I am in no position to deny it—it must be a large and expensive matter to control it. The idea that only a registrar is needed for the purpose does not carry any conviction to my mind. A large staff must be required. Either that staff is in existence at the present moment or it is not in existence. If it is in existence it must be kicking its heels at the Ministry of Health at the present time, doing nothing—a supposition which, I think, is entirely absurd. If it is not in existence it has to be created, and it is going to be costly. I am sure the noble Viscount used his argument in perfect good faith, but I have no particular confidence in the financial estimates of the Minister of Health, and I do not think he ought to have instructed the noble Viscount to make a statement of this kind, carrying no conviction. If it does carry conviction to anybody, I fear it can only do so by misleading them.

    The real controversy that I want to bring before you, the controversy on formula deposit, is really one between the medical profession and the manufacturers. Many doctors want a complete disclosure. The manufacturers say that some members of the medical profession are out to destroy their trade, with the effect, incidentally, of increasing their own remuneration. I am not in the least concerned in that quarrel; all I desire is to see justice done and the best arrangements possible made for the public. In regard to this particular Amendment the voting in the Select Committee was six for the particular proposal in the Bill and three against. Broadly speaking, I believe no such provision is required in any English-speaking country at the present time. I fully admit that many English-speaking countries (our own Dominions among the number) are greatly ahead of us in regard to legislation on this matter. But this particular provision, I believe, is not in force, broadly speaking, in any English-speaking country. It has been debated in Canada, in Queensland, and, I am told but am not sure, in Western Australia also, and it was defeated there. Canada is the most recent example. The Canadian Bill requiring formula deposit was withdrawn last year by the Government, and the Act now requires a statement on oath that preparations do, or do not, contain certain drugs which are mentioned in the Schedule to the Act.

    In effect my proposal is the same as the Canadian legislation at the present time. I may mention incidentally, as a somewhat analogous case, although, I admit, it is not by any means entirely on all fours, that in the Profiteering Act there is a section which says—

    "Nothing in this Act or the principal Act shall require particulars of any secret process or preparation to be disclosed."

    So much for what I may call precedent. The next point I want to bring forward, is that I very much doubt, according to the information of those who have advised me, whether any protection will be afforded by formula deposit. How many of us know the quality of one-tenth or one-hundredth of the drugs used? Indeed, there are many drugs of which I do not even know the name. How many of the people whom we are trying to save from the evil effects of obnoxious drugs and obnoxious medicines would be deterred by a knowledge that the medicine which they took had in it certain ingredients with long Latin or Greek names, of the meaning of which, and the qualities of which, they have not the faintest conception. Many of these proprietary medicines are, after all, in the nature of very harmless soothing syrup. Their virtue is somewhat analogous to that of the present Government; it is a harmonious Coalition exercising a soothing effect upon a considerable portion of the public.

    The real protection in regard to this matter is in paragraph (f) of Clause 5, which enables the Minister, if he thinks fit,

    to direct that the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug—I shall propose an Amendment later on to alter those words to "article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908"—forming an ingredient of any registered medicine shall be stated in the prescribed manner on all vessels or other packages in which the medicine is sold or offered for sale. There is an immense list of these drugs now in the Schedule. I do not know how many hundreds, but hundreds and hundreds of them. I think am correct in that. And they are being constantly added to, quite properly and rightly, by the Privy Council. Veronal, for instance, a drug of which we have all heard, has, I think, quite recently been added to this list. It is admitted, of course, that a great many vegetable compositions are very difficult to detect by chemical analysis. If the Government proposal is to be defended, it clearly must be on the score that harmful drugs are being used, or processes are being used, which make medicines harmful, which would not be covered by disclosing the drugs which are in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act. If I am correct in my information, clearly the real remedy is to add to the Schedule and put the harmful drugs upon it.

    There is a further protection at the present time in the prohibition of all advertising, I understand, as regards abortificients and as regards cures for venereal disease. I believe the principle that I adopted at the War Trade Department is the right one, mutalis mutandis. In that case we required disclosure of articles which were prohibited from export at the time, if they entered into the composition of the compound articles that were sent out. In this case it seems to me that there should be a disclosure of the use of any drugs in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act. I do not think that disclosure to a large number of Government officials (and I maintain that there must be a large staff who will know) is at all desirable, if it can be avoided. The registrar cannot possibly deal with tens of thousands of registered proprietary medicines himself, and I do ask your Lordships seriously to look at the temptation, first of all, to sell knowledge—a direct method of corruption—and, secondly, the much more subtle temptation to a manufacturer to offer a high salary to a man who is soaked in the secrets of this new Department, and who could give

    him valuable information, if he could be induced to enter his service.

    I beg that this matter should have further consideration. I think the case to be made against this particular proposal is very strong. If the case that can be made in its favour is stronger still, of course, one must give way, but, so far as I see it, I think the case is very strong against the proposal, and I would urge that this Bill should be passed without this particular proposal. If, when it has been passed and has been put into force, it is found that it is not sufficient, it will be a very simple matter to remedy it.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 1, line 15, leave, out from ("medicine") to ("or") in line 17, and insert ("in respect of which a statutory declaration has been furnished to the registrar, it is compounded in accordance with the declaration").—(Lord Emmott.)

    Lord Emmott has just moved an Amendment which would take out one of the important proposals in the Bill. Next to Clause 2 the disclosure, in confidence to the registrar, of the ingredients of these remedies is certainly the most important proposal contained in the Bill. I hope that we shall be able, during the course of our discussion, to persuade the noble Lord that it would not be in the public interest to persevere with this Amendment. Before going into greater detail I might, perhaps, deal with some of the more general points which the noble Lord raised. First of all, he has again, I will not say complained at the Bill being taken in Committee to-day, but he has suggested ant we should not proceed with it to-day or during the time that remains to us, but should rather postpone its further consideration to the autumn. I have not been a member of your Lordships' House for very long, but since I have been here I have heard frequent complaints that your Lordships have not enough constructive legislative work to do, that you have been too much restricted to being merely in the position of revising the legislation submitted by the other House. This is an attempt on the part of the Ministry of Health to introduce legislation here. Perhaps I may elaborate my point a little. I know the noble Lord is not complaining of that.

    As I said on the Second Reading, we hope to get this Bill through your Lordships' House in August in order that it may be ready for the House of Commons to consider it the first week of the autumn sittings. The noble Lord, who has wide experience of the House of Commons, knows perfectly well that very often during the first week important Bills can be taken for which, perhaps, it is difficult to find time later in the session, when big, important, contentious measures are brought in by the Government. Therefore I earnestly hope your Lordships will assist us in passing the Bill through all its stages in this House before the recess. I believe, as a matter of fact, that on examining the Amendments your Lordships will find there are not a large number of points which really need take up your Lordships' time. When we have dealt with this Amendment, I believe that we shall, in fact, have dealt with most of the contentious Amendments which are on the Paper.

    My noble friend complained of the smallness of the staff which it was contemplated we should have under the Ministry of Health in order to work this Act effectively. We do not suppose that we shall have inspectors going all round the country; we do not expect to be looking into every medicine. We know perfectly well how right he was in saying that many of these proprietary medicines are quite harmless, and therefore it is not necessary to have a large staff analysing them and going into them in every detail. Still, as I shall attempt to show your Lordships, we consider it is vitally necessary, if we are to carry out the object of the Bill—namely, to safeguard the health and welfare of the public that buy remedies—that the Minister of Health, who is responsible for the administration of this Bill, should know what they contain. The noble Lord also said that in no English-speaking country was the owner of a proprietary medicine obliged to disclose the formula. I understand that in Western Australia the owner not only has to disclose the formula in secret to a Government Department; he has to put the ingedients on the label so that every man who buys a bottle of the remedy knows exactly what it is he is buying.

    I do not know. The noble Lord said there was no country, and I have given him one example.

    I said, broadly speaking; but I added that I was not quite sure about Western Australia.

    I beg the noble Lord's pardon; I did not catch the qualification. In moving his Amendment the noble Lord said that it was essential to maintain the secrecy of the formula. He said that the doctors were in favour of the Bill, as now drafted, implying that the medical profession at large would get to know the composition of the various remedies.

    As long as the noble Lord did not mean that, well and good, because he certainly went on to say that there would be a great temptation to the officers of the Ministry of Health to sell to the public, or to a trade rival, or to a doctor, the information which had been supplied to the Minister in the strictest confidence. I have too high an opinion of our Civil Service and our officials to believe that they would, in fact, be tempted to sell such secrets. The noble Lord further said that, generally speaking, the medical profession was in favour of doing away with proprietary medicines because it would be to their interest, and their remuneration would go up. I could point to many passages in the evidence given before the Select Committee where it was said that, on the whole, the medical profession stood to gain by the public buying a large number of these remedies; that over and over again cases were known of serious injury to health, of disease having been allowed to get worse through delay in going to a proper medical practitioner for advice during the time the unfortunate individual was treating himself as best he could by using some of them. It was stated in evidence before the Committee that it was rather to the interest of the profession that the public should use these remedies. I dare say Lord Bledisloe, who was a member of the Committee, may deal with the point; I do not want to make too much of it.

    Perhaps I may be able to satisfy Lord Emmott on the question of export. As I understand it, the Bill is not intended to touch the export trade at Medicines for sale abroad can be consigned to an agent abroad, and no sale within the meaning of Clause 1 need take place at all; no property need pass until the goods have left this country. If the noble Lord is not satisfied with that explanation and would care to put down an Amendment, I shall be very pleased to consider it sympathetically on the Report stage.

    Dealing now with the main point of the Amendment, may I say that there are two big proposals in the Bill. First of all, we prohibit by Clause 2 the advertising of remedies purporting to cure certain diseases. The Bill is also designed to prevent the sale of remedies which may be injurious and prejudicial to the health of the purchaser. There are a large number of substances, not poisons, which, if taken in excessive doses or given to children, or taken without proper warning against excessive doses, in fact seriously prejudice the health of those who take them. Antipyrine, antifebrin, the bromides, sulphate of zine and various other ingredients which I could name if your Lordships wish for more information on the point, if taken by the man in the street without due warning against excessive dosage, seriously prejudice his health. They are not technically poisons, but there are cases in which they act prejudicially. I have before me a case in which two children lost their lives by taking a patent, medicine containing an ingredient which is not a poison. The case was fought out before the Courts; counsel was employed by the owner of the remedy—counsel who is now a learned Judge—and the Court reported quite specifically that these two children had lost their lives because they had taken this particular proprietary remedy containing an ingredient which ought not to have been given to children in the doses in which it was given to them.

    1905. If your Lordships want to go into the question of injury to health, I am quite prepared to do so in detail and to quote a large number of examples, but I do not want to create a prejudice against the trade in patent medicines as a whole. A large number of these remedies do not prejudice life and if I went into it at great length it might seem to imply that all patent medicines are prejudicial to health. The Committee certainly came to the conclusion, and it will be borne out by any medical practitioner, that it is unwise for any mother to give bromides to her children unless there is proper medical supervision, and that there are many other substances which, if taken in large quantities, are injurious to the individual who takes them. We want to be in a position to see that the public are warned about the quantity of the dose they ought to take, and it is essential for us to know what are the ingredients in these medicines.

    I have put down an Amendment which, I believe, will give reasonable safeguard to the trade. I have an Amendment to Clause 1 which makes it impossible for a trade rival to try and ascertain the ingredients of any proprietary remedy by bringing a trumped-up case against the owner of the remedy. That will be a real protection. The Amendment restricts proceedings against the owner of a medicine to the Minister of Health; it is not possible for a trade rival to bring the owner of one of these medicines into Court to try and extract publicly the composition of the remedy. I have also an Amendment to Clause 4 which will give further protection to the trade, and if the noble Lord, upon the Report stage, is able to suggest any further Amendment which will give reasonable protection to the owners of proprietary medicines I will willingly and gladly consider it. But we think it absolutely vital that the ingredients which go to make up these remedies should be disclosed in absolute confidence to the Government. The particular Amendment now before the House strikes at one of the fundamental clauses in the Bill and I trust your Lordships will not accept it, if it is pressed, though I hope the noble Lord will not press it.

    I do not rise to deal with the Amendment now before the House but some observations fell from the noble Viscount, with which I cordially agree, on which I should like to make a remark. He said that it was his desire that measures should be first introduced in this House. I quite agree with him and rejoice that the noble Viscount, who has just arrived from the House of Commons, holds that view. But in my opinion measures of such importance as this should not be introduced into your Lordships' House in the last hours before the House adjourns. It is an important measure, and the Amendments on the Paper are very important. I do not know whether the Government have considered what they are doing by dealing with these numerous Amendments at this hour. Are we going to sit to-morrow, or after dinner to-night? Is the adjournment for the holidays to be postponed until the week after next? These are questions which your Lordships should consider at this moment, because we may have to go on for hours, for days, dealing with this Bill and then regret that we have not sufficient time to do justice to so important a subject. Measures like this should be introduced earlier in the session and the House should have more time to give to the details in order that Bills may be sent to the other House in a perfect form, doing credit to your Lordships' House.

    I do not think we can pass by the appropriate remarks of the noble Lord who has just spoken without signifying our assent to the general proposition he has laid down. I agree with him, and also with the noble Viscount, that it is important that Bills should be introduced in the first instance in your Lordships' House, but I cannot say that August 6 is a suitable date on which to deal in Committee with an elaborate Bill of this kind. I do not say it is an unacceptable procedure in the case of a Bill which is to be passed by consent. There are certain Bills, important Bills, upon the provisions of which all reasonable men are agreed and these may, no doubt, be suitably dealt with at any time in the session. I do not know how far the noble Viscount's persuasive eloquence has prevailed upon Lord Emmott to modify his view. I do not want to pronounce any opinion against the contention of the noble Viscount, but I do not think his argument was quite full. I am not very satisfied with the precedent of Western Australia. It may be an important Colony, but it is not one of the most important Colonies in the British Dominions, and I am not much impressed by that precedent. If he can persuade Lord Emmott that he is correct there is no reason in the world why the matter should not proceed, but if there is a serious difference of opinion upon an important Amendment of this kind the Government have only one course to pursue, and that is to make some modification. It is perfectly clear that if your Lordships went to a Division they would be compelled to do so. There would not be a quorum in the House, and it follows they would have to make some sort of concession.

    One is, of course, anxious to deal with everything on the basis of consent, but it is impossible to conciliate divergent opinions. Last night the noble Marquess protested against sitting after dinner and now he protests against taking a Bill at half-past five in the afternoon. The Government desire to make as much progress with this Bill as possible, they attach considerable importance to it. My noble friend Viscount Astor was only explaining that his wish is that the Bill should be passed in order that the House of Commons may begin with it early after the recess. I do hope that because it is the month of August and because we began this Bill at half-past five, we are not to be precluded from continuing it, as that means the abrogation of work by the House of Lords.

    There has been only one speech in support of the alleged merits of this particular Amendment. If the Amendment is carried it will strike a blow, and a fundamental blow, at the Bill itself. This particular Bill would have been introduced some five years ago had it not been for the war. The problem with which it deals is one of the greatest possible urgency. The scandal which existed with regard to these proprietary remedies of a detrimental character was great before the war, and it is infinitely greater at the present time, as the result of war and post-war social conditions. Considering that we sat as a Select Committee for very nearly three years, and made a most meticulous examination of the whole problem, and particularly this side of it, I should deprecate your Lordships accepting the argument of my noble friend opposite, in support of his Amendment, as sufficient in effect to kill this Bill or so to emasculate it as to render it, to a very large extent, valueless.

    On the merits of this Amendment I should like to remind Lord Emmott that while seeking, as he does, to maintain absolute secrecy as to the composition of all proprietary remedies, this is not a course which is adopted in the leading countries of Europe to-day. France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and other European countries took steps some years ago to prevent the perpetuation of this secrecy in the preparation of proprietary medicines. In the countries of Western Australia, France, Italy and Austria the real prescription or formula has to be made known to the public. We do not go so far as that. I am bound to say that some of the strongest evidence brought before us was in favour of making known to the public, by printing on the bottle, the actual ingredients. We did not think that was fair to those who dealt in perfectly reliable proprietary remedies, but we ask that the law in this respect shall be brought up to the average level of that of the more civilised nations of the world, and it would not be so if this Amendment were carried.

    In support of what the noble Viscount has said I may say that when the noble Lord, Lord Emmott, asked the House to rest satisfied with a mere declaration that the ingredients of these preparations are not contained in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, he is excluding a very large number of ingredients which are noxious to human health and, in fact, poisonous if administered in more than an infinitesimal quantity. The noble Viscount opposite mentioned only a few, but I could mention a very much larger number if I desired to do so. In addition to that the noble Lord has not dealt with the important consideration that there are other ingredients which, although they may not be actually poisonous, are wholly useless for the particular ailments for which they are recommended and advertised. For both those reasons I would ask your Lordships to decline to accept this Amendment, which strikes at the whole root of this Bill, and at the whole labours of the Select Committee, who, as I have said, have taken enormous pains to make recommendations which will absolutely protect the public against fraud. I hope that your Lordships will not accept the Amendment but will make progress with the Bill.

    I have little doubt that this Bill will go through this evening if an arrangement can be made upon this particular point, which is the crux of the Bill. The great industry which is engaged upon medicines of this nature, some few of which may be of a harmful kind, rely upon their having formulæ which are not known to the general public. The public have not asked for these formulæthey would not understand them— but it is now asked that these should be deposited with the Government. It is suggested that the Government have not provided sufficient safeguards in order to prevent these formulæ leaking out. It goes to the very root of this great industry that secrecy should be maintained with regard to these preparations, on which a huge trade may be built up. If there is to be risk of such a huge trade being overthrown by some one man giving away the formula, or by its leaking out, or by its being betrayed through breach of faith, or anything of that kind, then this great industry will not be built up.

    The industry in many respects is one which has been of incalculable value to the public at large; many doctors make use in their prescriptions of the results which are obtained from it. Quack medicines have been really the pioneers of other medicines, and have often led to scientific discoveries; but all this would go, and this great industry would be overthrown, if you had not this secrecy which Lord Bledisloe has so attacked as being unsatisfactory. If the Government want to know what these medicines are made of, in ninety-five cases out of a hundred they can find it out by analysis. Lord Emmott has suggested that the practice which, during the war, was so satisfactory—namely, that poisons should be disclosed— should be followed, and he has been asked whether on Report, he can bring up a sufficient protection which the Government could accept. To my mind it is for the Government themselves to say how they are going to prevent this industry being overthrown by unfair disclosures, and it is for them, in the interests of the industry, to bring forward their own proposals.

    There are before the House two methods of protection for the health of the people. One is the protection offered by the Bill, and the other is the method of protection offered by the noble Lord. He says, in effect, that it is not necessary to disclose the composition of a remedy confidentially to a Government Department, but, on the contrary, that it is quite sufficient for a declaration to be made that a given remedy either does not contain a poison, or, if it does contain a poison, stating the proportions of the poison. I would like to bring before your Lordships certain reasons why I think the mere stating that a thing is a poison is not only inadequate, but is entirely unsuitable. Remedies are not to be judged suitable or unsuitable, according to whether they are poisons. Many remedies which make for good in proper hands make for harm in unskilful hands. And the practice winch has arisen of adding to the Scheduled poisons in the Poisons Act is a wholly undesirable practice. That Schedule contains many drugs, unfortunately, which in the strict sense of the word are not poisons at all, and it produces an undesirable prejudice in the public mind to overstate the number of poisons.

    The fact is that knowledge tends to make the composition of drugs more and more precise, and as their composition becomes more precise their action becomes more accurately known, and as their action becomes more accurately known, they become powerful for good and for evil—powerful for good in the hands of people who know, and powerful for evil in the hands of people who do not know. That is one of the reasons why, in my judgment, you must allow a wide discretion to a Government Department. On the one hand, you do not want to do any injustice to remedies which are either harmless, or (as many of them are) useful, and on the other hand, you must protect the public against remedies which may be potentially remedies for evil. What are the criteria which would enable us to say whether remedies are harmful or not? I would suggest one criterion, and that is, a patent medicine is not necessarily harmful per se in its ingredients, but it has the effect of masking the early symptoms of serious and grave diseases. One of the tragedies of patent medicines is that they put the people who take them into a fool's paradise. They mask the symptoms of a grave disease, with the result that month after month goes by and the true investigation of the disease from which the person is suffering is delayed. Ultimately, there is a very delayed investigation, and it is then found that it is too late to do anything. I would suggest, therefore, that one criterion is not whether a particular drug is a poison or not, but whether a particular combination of drugs does, by having this particular effect, do such harm to the public as to require that the public should be protected.

    I will not detain your Lordships by giving needless examples. Malignant disease immediately comes to one's mind. It is quite easy to assuage the symptoms of malignant disease for six months by various remedies, whereas, if a protection existed, the unfortunate victim would go and be properly examined, and an early and scientific diagnosis would not be delayed by inefficient and haphazard treatment. There are certain drugs which are extremely efficacious when properly handled, but which, in the hands of inexperienced people, are dangerous, and that number will assuredly increase. Those drugs are not poisons. It is the abuse of the drugs which is the poison. Take for example the analine group. Another reason for supporting the dye industry is found in the innumerable drugs that are being carefully and scientifically built up with analine and other compounds as their basis. This group of drugs is being extended year by year. These drugs are not poisons, but they are extraordinarily dangerous in the hands of people, either singly or in combination, who do not know how to use them. Many of the simple head-ache powders in the hands of skilful persons are most efficacious. It is very easy to see people in a state of collapse who use them without knowledge.

    Take the remedies for sleep. The remedies for sleep are improved and increased month by month, and this is one of the most important aspects of medical research. No one would pretend that the remedy for sleep is a poison, yet it would be a great temptation to a patent medicine vendor to put such a remedy into a patent medicine. It need not be a poison in the hands of a skilled man. It may ease a large amount of suffering, and aid in the recovery of illness, because there is nothing so efficient in the bringing about of healing as giving a patient rest. But what is very good treatment in the hands I of a skilled man becomes a drug of a most dangerous character if it is allowed to be sold anyhow to members of the public. I submit that the question whether a drug is a poison or not is no criterion whatever. There is only one way, in my judgment, of deciding whether a particular remedy needs to be protected in such a way that the public may not arrive at any harm from it, and that is to look at that remedy all the way round, not only as regards its individual ingredients, but as regards the combination of ingredients and the purpose for which it is used. Although I am by no means one of those who wish to multiply the work done by Government Departments, I can see no way, except by some simple method such as is set forth in this Bill, of giving the protection which is so much needed.

    Perhaps as a member of the medical profession I ought not to sit down without making it perfectly clear that I am not against proprietary medicines as such. I think there are a large number of proprietary medicines which are harmless, and, further than that, there are some which are very efficacious, and anything which would unduly restrict their use would be against public interest. It is only the public interest which should be the criterion and the guide not only of your Lordships' House but of the profession to which I have the honour to belong. There are many remedies which may not only be harmless, but which may be efficacious. And there is this further to be said about patent medicines—that they not only have a physiological basis for their efficacy, but they have a psychological basis for their efficacy also. If, for example, you find your symptoms set forth in lurid print which describes or illustrates to you a massed attack by microbes on your entrails, and if you see, side by side with that wonderful picture, a remedy that is going to remove it, and that is going to give you victory over your enemy, that inevitably will, if it is suitably advertised, have a greater effect in curing you of your ailment than the same ingredients prescribed under a prosaic prescription.

    But my view would be this. Supposing that is true, providing that the remedy is harmless why remove the illusion? We live amongst such illusions. Every time your Lordships take a cup of tea you suffer from that illusion. You say to yourself, "How refreshing this cup of tea is," whereas, if you analyse what really occurs, the actual physiological action of a cup of tea is not refreshing you at all. The amount of the active principle of the tea is so small as to satisfy the most expansive of our homeopathic friends. And as for its effect from the point of view of time, by the time it has had its effect you have forgotten you ever took the tea. The real thing which does you good with your cup of tea is the association of ideas; its association with rest, the pleasantness of the aroma, and the warm water, and that does you quite as much good. Therefore, I do not think we must neglect the psychological basis of patent medicines. In ending the remarks I have ventured to submit to your Lordships I wish to make it quite clear that one is not against a proprietary medicine as such, but one needs some amount of discrimination to decide whether it falls into the category that it is good or that it is harmful. I venture to suggest that the most efficient way of doing that is to do it as set forth in this Bill.

    I am most reluctant, to prolong this discussion. Therefore I will merely read to your Lordships two sentences from this Report of the Select Committee on Patent Medicines. The first is relevant to the theory put forward by Lord Askwith of the value of those medicines with which you might be interfering by disclosing their formulre. This is paragraph 47—

    'So far as we have been able to discover, no scientific chemist and no qualified medical man, with rare exceptions, is connected with or employed in the manufacture of secret remedies such as those we have placed in Class B. And we have failed to find that any new drug, or new discovery of a method of compounding known drugs, has been placed at the service of the public as one of that class of secret remedy."
    And then as to whittling down the proposals of the Bill, which carry out practically the proposals of the Committee, in paragraph 59 the Report says—
    "Your Committee believe that Departmental and legislative action as outlined above will not inflict injustice upon any patent or proprietary medicine or appliance—"
    and they go on to say that no measures of a smaller scope will secure the result of protecting the public.

    I am in complete sympathy with the objects which the noble Viscount has in view, but I am bound to confess that I do not quite understand the scheme of Clause 1. The Bill provides in elaborate terms for the securing by the Department of information; but, so far as I can gather, the Minister, when he has secured information, would have no power to take any action. I must confess that I am surprised that the noble Viscount has proposed certain Amendments which seem to cut down the provisions of the Bill, such as they are. He proposes that no person shall have any right to inspect these particulars when they are furnished. Apparently, the Minister is to be the only person who is to have the information in his possession. Nothing is said in the Bill as to any action by the Minister, and I should have thought it was a monstrous thing to deprive persons who suffer from pernicious patent medicines of their right to know the ingredients of the medicine which has poisoned them, and to deprive them of the evidence to which obviously they are entitled for the purpose of establishing a case in the Courts. The Amendments which the noble Viscount proposes interfere with the ordinary provisions as to evidence. He proposes to set aside the provisions of Section 14 of the Evidence Act of 1851, and to make the particulars which are furnished secret. I take it that the object of this Bill is to protect persons from fraudulent patent medicine vendors.

    A NOBLE LORD: It is "injurious," is it not?

    The object of the Bill, I take it, is to protect the public against fraudulent patent medicines. One would imagine that when these particulars have been secured by this elaborate process they would be available to the public for the purpose of any legal proceedings. We all know that Government Departments are very active in drafting Bills, in setting up large staffs, and in making analyses; but they are very backward in bringing legal proceedings. I have had a good deal of experience in connection with these matters, and I know from that experience that it is very difficult to get a Government Department to take any action. What is the good of putting the country to all this expense unless the Department is going to take some steps for the purpose of seeing that these patent medicine vendors do not defraud the public? That is the point.

    As I have said, the provisions of Clause 1 of this Bill are merely directed to the question of information. I have no wish to delay this matter, but the subject is one of great importance. You are dealing here with a big trade involving millions of capital; you are dealing with a favourite recreation of a large section of the public, because a great many people find it a recreation to take patent medicines. The noble Viscount said that fifteen years ago it was proved that two children had been killed by patent medicines. We know, of course, that every day people are being poisoned by doctors and other- wise, and I do not for a moment imagine that patent medicine vendors in the matter of remedies have any monopoly of poisoning.

    I do not propose to detain your Lordships any longer, but I would like to say quite seriously that it is most important in the interests of the public that a well thought out measure should be devised for the purpose of dealing with this trade. So far as Clause 2 is concerned, although I am in the newspaper business, in which connection I thank the noble Lord for the compliment he has been good enough to pay me, I think that part of the Bill which deals with advertising requires less attention. The portion of the Bill which does require attention is the question of registration, and what the Ministry of Health is to do when it has the particulars. I think it would be a lamentable thing if this House passed a Bill containing no carefully thought out scheme giving powers to the Ministry to prosecute fraudulent persons who sell these remedies. We all know that certain remedies are harmless while others are efficacious. But so far as concerns remedies which are poisonous or deleterious in any way it is absolutely necessary in the interests of the public that a proper scheme should be produced which will enable the Ministry to take effective action. My objection to this clause is that it does not provide a scheme of that sort. Therefore I support the noble Lord who has moved the Amendment.

    The noble Lord, Lord Dawson of Penn, made a most interesting speech this afternoon in which, I must honestly say, he gave some rather cogent reasons for the lines on which this Bill is drawn. I will try to show later where I think his reasons fail as a practical matter. At any rate, from the medical point of view, he did show how certain drugs which are not scheduled in the Schedule of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act have a deleterious effect when they are taken in sufficient quantity. But I was reminded in the course of the noble Lord's speech how very far from an exact science the science of medicine still is, and probably will remain for many a long year to come. I would engage to say that if one approached other doctors to express an opinion on the physiological effects of a cup of tea they might differ materially on that subject from the noble Lord. I know that after a cup of tea I feel much better and can enjoy a smoke much more—and I have missed both the smoke and the cup of tea this afternoon.

    The point of the explanations of Lord Dawson, of my noble friend in charge of the Bill, and of Lord Bledisloe, fail, it seems to me, because they have not shown that the particular provisions of the Bill are going to safeguard the public against the evil that they deplore. Supposing this disclosure is made. Supposing some addition is made to the labels as to the quantity to he used, and so on; who is going to benefit by them? Are the people who are now taking these proprietary medicines, which for a time stave off the earlier pains of malignant disease, going to stop taking them on that account? Are they going any sooner to a medical practitioner on that account? I do not think so for a moment. I wish I could think they were. I believe you will get just the same practical good effects from what I propose as you are going to get under this Bill. That, however, is a matter for argument.

    What I feel is this. I have said I know little about this question. Most reluctantly I have brought the Matter before the House, and, though we have spent a long time over the Amendment, I think the time has not been wasted. I do not feel that I know enough about it to be dogmatic, but I feel that it is unfair to spring on the country a Bill of which we have had the very shortest notice, about which the manufacturers have not had time to see the Government, and then to ask us to go into the Committee stage on a matter on which we are very imperfectly informed. I really am in a difficulty as to what to do. I do not feel that, even if there is a quorum in the House, a Division on this Amendment would be of any great value.

    I do not want to detain the House unnecessarily, but I would remind your Lordships that this is not the only point. There are a large number of Amendments that will take a lot of time, as far as I can judge. I do not see how we can get through this Bill this evening. I want to give the manufacturers time to confer with the Government Department and thrash this matter out. I am really not capable, of my own knowledge, of carrying this thing very far, because it is a highly technical matter. Whatever is done, I am not now going to press this Amendment to a Division, but I do want to know what we are going to do about the Bill in general, and what chance the manufacturers and the experts will have to thrash the matter out with the Government Department, to see if some middle, or some different and better way, can be found for what is admittedly a most difficult matter. The difficulty of it to my mind seems greater after our debate this afternoon.

    I should like to mention that I was right —or rather I should have been right had I said that Western Australia did not enforce disclosure. Since I spoke I have ascertained that our manufacturers send to Western Australia proprietary medicines without any disclosure at all. Therefore, whatever the Select Committee may have said, no such legislation is being practically enforced at the present time. I did make a caveat about Western Australia, but I find that the legislation has not been enforced, and when Lord Bledisloe suggests that all the more advanced and cultured nations of the world have legislation which, on tins particular point, resembles this Bill, I beg to remind him that the United States of America and our own country still stand out.

    A NOBLE LORD: France.

    I thought France had it. But some of the highly civilised nations have not got this particular provision which we are discussing.

    I should like to thank the noble Lord for the way in which he has met my suggestion. I am sure we are all agreed on two things. First, we want to do nothing which will injure the public; secondly, we want to do nothing which will injure the legitimate interests of a trade which has been built up in connection with these remedies. I have already put down some Amendments on the Paper which, I think, give them increased protection. I would point out that this Bill is not being rushed upon the country. The Select Committee sat for three years, heard evidence, and went into it most searchingly. Their Report has been before the country for years. This Bill is framed entirely on their recommendations. I do not think we have put anything in it which they did not recommend.

    This Bill is now being considered in this House. It has not been through the other Chamber, so, even if we did get it through now, there is the whole of the summer during which the Ministry of Health can be in touch with the trades concerned, and then, after that, it will be scrutinised most carefully when it gets to another place. I can assure the noble Lord that the Ministry of Health will do all they can in conference and in informal discussion to hear anything which the trade have to say, and to see whether we can meet them by adding any further safeguards to the Bill. But we consider that it is vital that the ingredients which go to make up these remedies should be disclosed confidentially to the Government. There is no question of unfair disclosure to a rival; we want to do all we can to protect them. We will do all we can to hear anything that the trade have got to say.

    I have listened with the greatest care to every speech which has been made in this discussion, and if there is to be a Division I shall find it my duty to vote with the Government. I think, on the whole, their arguments prevail. But I do share with my noble friends—who, as I am sure the noble Viscount in charge of the Bill will admit, have approached this subject in a publicspirited manner—the view that probably this very important trade will have a feeling of resentment if this Bill is pushed right through before the recess. I do not know whether the Government will allow me to make a suggestion. It is that, after they have taken the Committee stage, they should postpone the remaining stages of the Bill until the autumn. That, I think, would be a natural thing to do. The Bill would be very nearly through, so far as time is concerned, but there would remain the Report stage for any subsequent dealing with it. In the meantime proper representations would be made, and I think very likely an agreement might be arrived at under which the Bill would pass with universal consent.

    May I say in his presence that the noble Viscount has been most conciliatory in the way in which he has dealt with this Bill, and the fact that he has put down an Amendment to deal with the point shows that he is most anxious to carry with him the general assent of your Lordships. If he would push that spirit just one step further and adopt the course which I very respectfully suggest, I think he would find the Committee stage would go through perfectly easily, and that there would be very little difficulty, in the early days when we re-assemble, in passing the Bill through the stages which remain.

    I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, at the end of subsection (3), to insert—

    "Provided that proceedings shall not be brought against any person for manufacturing or preparing for sale a proprietary medicine compounded of other ingredients or in other proportions than those specified in the register except by the Minister."

    The noble Viscount said: I do not think I need take up your Lordships' time in discussing my Amendment because I have, in fact, explained its object already. I think we have now dealt with the most important Amendment on the Paper, and I hope we shall be able to get through the Committee stage this evening, as I do not think the points which remain will take any length of time. If that is the case, perhaps I might be able to discuss with Lord Emmott and with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, whether they still think it is desirable not to take the further stages of the Bill before the recess. I still hope that I can get their sanction to passing the Bill through this House in order that the House of Commons may be able to discuss it in October. That is really what I am aiming at.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 4, at end insert the said proviso.— (Viscount Astor.)

    I rather hope the noble Viscount will carefully consider before the Report stage the exact effect of this Amendment. I do not suppose I am in general agreement with Lord Riddell with regard to Clause 1, but I certainly share his view that this particular proviso will remove the common law right of action for fraud which the aggrieved party would have in its absence, without imposing a definite duty upon the Ministry of Health to take proceedings for the protection of the public. I have an Amendment ready to put down on the Report stage making it the duty of the Minister to initiate proceedings in such cases as this. If that were added to this Amendment I do not see any great difficulty. Otherwise it seems to me the public would be deprived of the common law right which they at present possess.

    I think the noble Lord is mistaken in regard to the public remedy for fraud to which be refers. The fraud alleged surely would be that the medicine was represented to be good for something for which it was not good. It would not be that it was compounded of the particular drugs A, B, and c, because the public does not know of what it is compounded. The prosecution which is dealt with here is a prosecution simply in regard to a medicine which is not what it is supposed to be, and it does not seem to me that a member of the public is affected in any way by that, because what the member of the public would complain about would be that it did not do what it was supposed to do.

    It seems to me that it is absolutely necessary to confine the powers of prosecution to the Minister, whatever you add to them, because if any ordinary member of the public chose to act as prosecutor whether he considered himself injured or not, he would at once be up against the provision which prevents the disclosure of what is on the register, and would never get any further. Consequently it seems to be logical that the Minister is the only person who ought to prosecute.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 2:

    Prohibition of sale, &c., of remedies for certain diseases.

    2.—(1) After the expiration of six months from the commencement of this Act it shall not be lawful for any person to sell, or to offer or advertise for sale, any medicine or surgical appliance of any kind whatsoever purporting or stated directly or by implication to be effective for the prevention, cure, or relief of any of the diseases or infirmities mentioned in the Schedule to this Act.

    If the Minister is of opinion that the provisions of this subsection should extend to any other disease or infirmity he may by regulations under this Act add the name of that disease or infirmity to the Schedule to this Act.

    (2) No person shall publish or distribute, or be concerned in any manner in the publication or distribution of, any advertisement or com munication relating to any article expressed in such terms as may, or are likely or calculated to, suggest that the article may be used or may operate as a means of producing an abortion or miscarriage.

    (3) If any person acts in contravention of this section he shall be guilty a a misdemeanour.

    had on the Paper an Amendment at the end of subsection (1), to insert "or any medicine purporting or stated directly or by implication to be effective for the prevention, cure, or relief of deafness or rupture without operation or the use of arty surgical appliance." The noble Lord said: Clause 2 as originally drafted was admitted, on Second Reading, to be rather too wide in its provisions relating to medical instruments or appliances for deafness and rupture, so I put down an Amendment in line 15. It has been suggested by the Government draftsman that the point would be better met by inserting an Amendment in line 13, which would make it read in this way—

    "it shall not be lawful for any person to sell … any medicine or surgical appliance of city kind whatsoever purporting cm stated directly or by implication to be effective for the cure of deafness or rupture or for the prevention—"
    and so on. Then, when the Schedule comes to be dealt with the words "deafness and rupture" should be taken out. It is suggested that would be an effective method of meeting the difficulty, if the Government care to accept it.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 13, after ("the") insert ("cure of deafness or rupture or for the").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I understand that Amendment takes the place of the noble Lord's Amendment in line 15.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    had an Amendment to omit from subsection (1) the words—

    "If the Minister is of opinion that the provisions of this subsection should extend to any other disease or infirmity he may by regulations under this Act add the name of that disease or infirmity to the Schedule of this Act."
    The noble Lord said: Surely the Schedule is large enough. The Schedule comes before Parliament and Parliament decides what are the diseases that are put in, and for the Minister suddenly to come down and add diseases without any notice to the public at large, or to Parliament, seems to be an administrative act of a very drastic character which might have serious effects.

    I am quite prepared to move in line 19, at the end of the paragraph we are now discussing, the insertion of the following words—

    "Provided that before any regulations are made for the purposes of the foregoing provision a draft of the regulations shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and the regulations shall not be made unless both Houses by resolution approve the draft either without modification or with modifications to which both Houses agree, and upon such approval being given the regulations may be made in the form in which they have been approved."
    That is to say, that the Ministry of Health should not add any other disease to those shown in the Schedule without an affirmative Resolution by both Houses. I trust that will meet the noble Lord.

    There is one point I would like to bring to the attention of the noble Viscount. I have not put down an Amendment on the Paper, but this clause, as drafted; would have the effect of preventing the publication in the medical papers of advertisements which I think it is conceded properly appear there, and I would ask him to be good enough to consider that point with a view to adding words to protect the Medical Press as is customary on such occasions. Diabetes is one of the diseases mentioned in the Schedule. I do not know whether it is intended to apply the clause to advertisements of diabetic foods which I should imagine would be quite proper things to advertise.

    I hope your Lordships will receive with some. reservation the remarks made by Lord Riddell about the Medical Press. I am sorry to have to say it, but it was made perfectly clear to the Select Committee that some organs of the Medical Press were by no means careful as to the sort of advertisements they admitted to their pages. Some of those advertisements were really of a most reprehensible character, enticing people to purchase medicines which did not have the particular properties they purported to have.

    I would like to urge the reconsideration of this clause as it stands. If you have a Schedule of diseases such as you have at the end of this Bill, it would be quite easy for any manufacturer of a patent medicine so to alter the announcement of his remedy as to enable the patent medicine cure, or so-called cure, to be available for the public. If it is desired to make this really effective the wording of the clause is very good. It says "diseases or infirmities," and the word "infirmities" is sufficiently wide to enable such proceedings to be rendered nugatory. We want to protect the public, and the more widely the clause is drawn and the wider the discretion given to the Minister the better.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2), after "shall," to insert "print." The noble Lord said: This is to ensure that a person who prints, as well as publishes, advertisements such as are referred to will be liable for so doing.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 20, after ("shall") insert ("print"). —(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 21, after ("the") insert ("printing").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 3:

    Offences in connection with advertisements.

    3. If any person—

  • (a) encloses with or in the parcel or wrapper containing a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance any written matter (not being an ordinary trade catalogue) advertising or recommending the use of some other proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance; or
  • (b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance, or the agent of any such owner or vendor, solicits or invites, whether by advertisement or otherwise, any person suffering, or believing himself to be suffering, from any ailment to enter into corre- spondence with him, either directly or indirectly, with reference to the ailment, or by correspondence treats or offers to treat any person suffering or believing himself to be suffering from any ailment, or offers to give medicine to any person with reference to the cure, relief, or prevention of any ailment; or
  • (c) publishes or otherwise makes use of any fictitious, false, or misleading testimials in relation to any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance; or
  • (d) publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a statement to the effect that a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is recommended by a duly qualified medical practitioner without including in the statement correct and full particulars with respect to the name and qualifications and, in the case of a living person, the address of the medical practitioner; or
  • (e) publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a false statement to the effect that, or a statement calculated to induce any person to believe contrary to the fact that, a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance was discovered, invented or compounded by a medical practitioner;
  • he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    moved to leave out paragraph (a). The noble Lord said: The Government have not realised what this paragraph means. It means that two proprietary medicines could not be sent in one parcel though they were legitimately ordered and paid for. it further means that if a cough mixture were being sent it man would be debarred front recommending a gargle. This is really going too far in grandmotherly legislation.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, lines 29 to 34, leave out paragraph (a). —(Lord Emmott.)

    This is one of the recommendations of the Select Committee. It is intended to prevent what I believe are called "trailer" advertisements. The vendors of these proprietary medicines get in touch with people and, if they do not get a cure from the first, recommend a second; then if that does not succeed they recommend a third; and so it goes on. It is because it enables the owners of medicines to get in touch with people who are nervous and get them to go in for selfdiagnosis, that the Committee recommended the proposal.

    It seems to me somewhat difficult to defend this particular provision. The whole spirit of the Bill is that people should not be misled by a patent medicine which contains dangerous drugs. That is the foundation of the measure. There is no misleading about this. We must look upon our fellow-subjects as being reasonable men; we must not think of the people of this country as being idiots. That is not the least what they are like. They will read these advertisements and no doubt will accept them at their proper worth. If it was thought that they contained something objectionable, on the other grounds with which the Bill deals, I could understand the provision more, but if it suggested that people might like to buy some other proprietary medicine surely they are the best judges of what they ought to do.

    This is not a recommendation on which the Select Committee set very great store, and now that legislation has been introduced dealing with venereal diseases it becomes of far less importance than before.

    I hope we shall not consider the whole of the Report of the Select Committee as sacrosanct and put into legislation the ipsissima verba of the Report. Surely it is the business of the Government to consider what will be the actual effect of the recommendations they make; and the effect of this will be that two patent medicines cannot be sent in the same parcel, however harmless they are. I must press the Amendment.

    If the noble Lord presses the Amendment on Report stage we would not ask your Lordships to keep it in the Bill.

    It is true that since legislation dealing with venereal diseases has been passed this proposal is not so important, and, if the noble Lord presses the Amendment, I will not ask your Lordships to keep the paragraph in the Bill.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    had on the Paper an Amendment, after paragraph (a), to insert the following new paragraph:

    "(b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance or the agent of any such owner or vendor, by advertisement or otherwise, claims therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients or by the specimen thereof furnished to the registrar respectively, or offers the same for sale at a price grossly in excess of the market value of its ingredients or constitutents, and of the labour and ingenuity expended in its composition or manufacture."
    The noble Lord said: This is an important Amendment, but I am prepared to move it without the last part which deals with the excessive charges made for medicines of very low monetary value. It is undoubtedly a serious matter that a large proportion of the most credulous women and not too well-instructed sections of the population do pay an enormous price for medicines of very little worth. This point, however, may raise a somewhat contentious debate and I am quite prepared to let it stand over until the Report stage. I move the first part of this Amendment, because it is a matter which the Committee, having had a large amount of evidence, regard as serious. I refer your Lordships to pages 15, 16 and 17 of the Report, which contains a long list of remedies, of proprietary medicines, which do claim thereapeutie effects grossly in excess of those they are justified in claiming.

    May I refer to one only which is described as "Mer-syren," and has the following advertisement description: "Composed of the active principles of certain rare plants which flourish in the valleys situated on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, between the immense gorge separating Nepaul from Bhutan on the east, and Almorah on the north-west. Recommended by Dr. Pearson, late Principal Medical Officer, North Bhangulpore, India." First of all, no place named Bhangulpore is to be found in any gazetteer or atlas. It is described as "a cure for dropsy, insanity, small-pox, angina pectoris, diphtheria, erysipelas, etc." and yet it contains no substance which could be detected by analysis except potato starch. That is one of the cases in which some drastic provision is necessary in order to prevent this species of fraud.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 34, at end insert the following new paragraph:

    ("(b) being the registered owner or the vendor of any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance or the agent of any such owner or vendor, by advertisement or otherwise, claims therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients or by the specimen thereof furnished to the registrar respectively.") —(Lord Bledisloe.)

    This proposal would undoubtedly strengthen the Bill, and it would prevent the owners of these remedies from claiming for them excessive therapeutic benefits or advantages, but if there is any opposition to the proposal I would suggest that it should be raised subsequently on the Report stage. It is, I understand, copied from the Australian Statute, and if it is your Lordships' desire that it should be added to the Bill I would not oppose it.

    So much depends on when we are going to take the Report stage. If it is to be next Monday it is very difficult, but if it is to be next sittings then we shall have time to consider it. I should like to hear what the Government have to say on that matter.

    A good deal of business has to be done next week and, as my noble friend has repeatedly assured the House, he is anxious to get the Bill through this House in order to begin elsewhere early after the recess. In any case I do not see how it is possible that the Report stage can be taken before Wednesday of next week. That is all I can answer at present.

    I understand that by the great courtesy of the Government the noble Viscount has been good enough to say that he will be guided by a private conference with several of us, including, no doubt, the noble Earl (Lord Russell) if he is interested in the matter, as to whether the Report stage shall be taken this or next sittings, and so far as that is concerned I think we may let the matter rest there for the moment. With regard to the particular Amendment, I hope the Government will not accept it, because it really does carry the thing much too far. Supposing, for example, one of these patent medicines contained tea as one of its elements. We know from a noble Lord that the therapeutic effects of tea are grossly exaggerated, and it would be at once brought within the purview of this clause. Indeed, it is quite evident that this question of whether the therapeutic effects are grossly exaggerated is a matter of doubtful opinion, and I do not want to admit matters of doubtful opinion into the Bill. Therefore, I think that the noble Viscount will be better advised not to accept the Amendment.

    May I say that I agree with the noble Marquess that the Amendment goes much too far.

    I suggest that it really goes so far that it leaves very little else behind, because it makes it an offence for any person, being the owner or vendor of any proprietary medicine, by advertisement or otherwise, to claim therefor therapeutic effects grossly in excess of those which are justified by its ingredients. Why, there is scarcely one of those things which would not come within those words, because if we take the analyses made by the British Medical Association they are no good for anything. And how is it to be determined? I suppose by the registrar. There would be very little left if this Amendment were accepted. I hope it will not be passed.

    I suggest that it would be very inadvisable to use terms such as are set forth in the Amendment. "Grossly in excess" are not terms of art. We know the difficulty of determining between fraud and gross fraud. I believe the lawyers have found a method of distinguishing between the two, but when you come to deal with the ordinary affairs of life, such as patent medicines, it is a difficult thing to say whether what is claimed is grossly in excess, and I should think it would be very unfortunate if the House were to agree to an Amendment of such an inartistic description as this. No doubt the noble Lord has certain grounds of substance for what he claimed, but I think the words that he has devised are entirely inappropriate for the purpose, and would lead to an enormous amount of litigation.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 4, leave out ("medicine") and insert ("advice").—(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved to add to Paragraph (b): "or to return money paid therefor if such cure, relief or prevention does not take place." The noble Lord said: I may mention that this appears to be a very common mode of inducing the sale of these proprietary nostrums. Many cases were brought to our notice where there were lock-up shops, with no one as a rule to be found inside, at which letters only were collected. The vendor of the remedy does not, in fact, return the money, but if any communication takes place between him and the consumer it is to the effect that if only the latter goes on using the remedy long enough he will derive benefit. It is a means of obtaining money by false pretences, and in accordance with the Report of the Select Committee I hope you will accept the Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 6, after ("ailment") insert ("or to return money paid therefor if such cure, relief or prevention does not take place").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I understand that the Committee considered that the practice which is described in this Amendment was practically fraudulent, and again I am quite prepared to accept the Amendment.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, at the end of paragraph (c), to insert "or makes use of the name of a fictitious person in connection therewith." The noble Lord said: This, of course, is in connection with proprietary medicines or surgical appliances. It was another case brought to our notice, and on which the Select Committee have reported. The more serious case is that in which the name of a doctor is used, although the doctor does not in fact exist. We have heard of Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People. I do not say that there was no Doctor Williams, but certainly in the case of Dr. Roulet's specific for gonorrhea it was proved that no such person as Dr. Roulet existed. And there were other preparations in connection with which the name of a doctor was mentioned. He was found not to be a person in existence. There are many other cases, such as that of Mother Siegel's soothing syrup, where certain purely fictitious names are used in connection with certain remedies. Of course, no such person as Mother Siegel ever existed. The same applies to the name of a large number of ladies, very often with French names, who are supposed to have taken the remedies with very great advantage to themselves. In every case which we probed to the bottom, in order to find out what the origin of the name was, the name was found to be wholly fictitious, and used obviously in order to deceive those who intended to buy the remedy.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 10, after ("appliance") insert ("or makes use of the name of a fictitious person in connection therewith").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I cannot advise your Lordships to accept this Amendment. I do not think it really matters to the public whether Mother Siegel existed, or whether Doctor Williams did or did not exist, provided that the remedy advertised does not injure the public health. It is obvious, if this Amendment were carried, that you would strike at many businesses which depend entirely upon the familiarity of the name to the public. A great deal of money has been expended in establishing good will, and, as I do not think it would give the public any protection, I suggest that your Lordships should not accept this Amendment.

    In these circumstances, I do not press the Amendment, although the noble Viscount has not defended the use of the fictitious names which are meant to deceive ignorant persons.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in paragraph (d), before "statement," where that word first occurs, to insert "false." The noble Lord said: The meaning of this Amendment is to alter the paragraph to this form—

    "Publishes, whether in any advertisement or otherwise, a false statement to the effect that a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is recommended by a duly qualified medical practitioner."
    I am not an authority on medical appliances, but this particular paragraph as drawn seems to me to be a roundabout way of the medical profession saving to its members that they are not to recommend any particular proprietary medicine. That seems to me to be a matter of medical etiquette, rather than one to be remedied by legislation of this kind, and I hope the noble Viscount will be able to accept this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 12, after first ("a") insert ("false").—(Lord Emmott.)

    We do not want remedies advertised with the names of doctors attached to them, who have what I might call worthless degrees. It is only fair to the public, if a doctor's name is attached to a remedy, that his degree, qualifications and address should be stated. There are cases which I could mention in which almost bogus doctors have been referred to in connection with a particular remedy. That is one reason why I cannot accept the Amendment. The second reason is that it is probably inadvisable to encourage doctors to give these recommendations or certificates. It was found by the Select Committee that a certain number of doctors gave the certificates in return for a considerable number of free samples of the remedies. I think there should be a guarantee ofbona fides to the public, and the best way of securing that is by retaining the clause as drafted.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved in paragraph (e), before "medical practitioner" at the end of the paragraph, to insert "duly qualified." The noble Lord said: I desire to cover the case of herbalists and other quacks who may claim to be medical practitioners but who are not duly qualified doctors.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 24, after ("a") insert ("duly qualified").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.

    had an Amendment on the Paper, after Clause 3, to insert the following new clause—

    ("(4) Every proprietary medicine registered under this Act shall bear upon the wrapper a true statement of the ingredients of such medicine, and any person offering for sale either wholesale or retail any such medicine which does not contain such statement upon the wrapper shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.")
    The noble Earl said: This is a recommendation to which I attach some importance, although perhaps not such importance as some people do. I have read the Report of the Committee, and I know the line which they took. The suggestion made in the new clause that I desire to insert is that upon the wrapper there should be a true statement of the ingredients of the medicine. The answer which the Committee made to that is twofold. They first say that disclosing the ingredients would damage the medicine. I am not sure how far that is true, because it is really the advertisement that has given it its good will, and not the ingredients that have done so. The second objection they make is that the meaning of the true scientific names of the ingredients of the medicine would not be known to the public or to many of your Lordships. I dare say there is a something in that second objection.

    I cannot help seeing that this Amendment is contrary to the line of the Bill as drawn up by the Government, and put forward by the Ministry of Health. Their whole scheme is to have the ingredients disclosed confidentially, and to keep them confidential. On the whole I am convinced that this is not an Amendment which would make for health, which, as the noble Viscount has frankly said, is the object of the Bill. It is an Amendment which deals rather with cases of fraud and protects the public. Where it would protect the public against fraud would be in cases where they paid, say, a shilling for something which was really yellow soap, and they would probably prefer to buy the yellow soap as yellow soap, though that, I admit, omits the important psychological element to which the noble Lord, Lord Dawson, referred. The noble Viscount in charge of this Bill has, however, been so kind and considerate that I do not propose to put him to the trouble of having to reject this Amendment. I therefore do not move.

    Clause 4:

    Register of medicines and appliances.

    4.—(1) For the purposes of this Act the Minister shall form and keep, subject to and in accordance with the provisions of this Act, a register of owners of proprietary medicines and owners of proprietary surgical appliances, and of proprietary medicines and appliances.

    (2) The register shall consist of the following parts:—

  • (a) A register of the persons registered as such owners as aforesaid;
  • (b) A register of proprietary medicines;
  • (c) A register of proprietary surgical appliances.
  • (3) The Minister shall appoint a proper person to be registrar for the purposes of this Act, and shall assign to him such duties in connection with this Act as he shall think fit.

    (4) If the registrar or any other person without lawful authority publishes or communicates to any person any information which has, for the purpose of procuring the registration of any medicine under this Act, been furnished by any person with respect to the ingredients or composition of that medicine he shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

    had down an Amendment to move in subsection (2) (b) after "medicines" to insert "specifying the respective formulæ thereof." The noble Lord said: This, I think, is specially provided for in Clause 5 (b), but what I want to be quite certain of is that this matter will find a place in the Bill.

    There can be no doubt about that. I do not think, therefore, that this Amendment is necessary.

    moved, in subjection (3), to delete "in connection with this Act as he shall think fit," and insert "as shall be necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act," and at end insert the following new subsection—

    "(4) Upon the requirements for registration under this Act being complied with in respect of any proprietary medicine, or any proprietary surgical appliance, the registrar shall register and assign a number to the same within thirty days from the date of the receipt by him of the application to register."

    The noble Lord said: The assigning of these duties to register occurs in Acts generally which establish registries. The registration may be held up for an unlimited time unless a period were given in which a person shall register after the proper preliminary steps have been taken by the trader who wishes to have his particular goods registered.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 3, line 38, leave out from ("duties") to the end of subsection (3), and insert (" as shall be necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act"), and at end insert the said new subsection.—(Lord, Askwith.)

    I am afraid I am not in a position to move an Amendment, but I have put some words on paper which will show your Lordships what our intention is and what we are prepared to accept. The words I suggest are to this effect—

    "Provided that no proceedings shall be instituted for any offence under this section, in connection with any medicine or appliance, an application to register which has been duly made, until the article is registered or unless a refusal to register has been given to the person making the application."
    That is to say, you could not proceed against the owner of a remedy for not being on the register merely because the Government had not granted his application to be put upon the register. If the noble Lord will be satisfied with an undertaking that I will move an Amendment somewhat on these lines, though not exactly in these words, I think that would give full protection and prevent the sort of injustice which he has in mind.

    There is one point on this clause. Nothing is said about the salary of the registrar or the expenses of the Department.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, at the end of subsection (3), to insert—

    "(3) The register of proprietary medicines shall be kept in two separate books, in one of which (in this Act referred to as 'the formulœ book') there shall be contained the particulars with respect to the ingredients and composition of the medicines, and in the other of which there shall be contained all the other matters which are required to be registered in relation to proprietary medicines.
    "(4) Notwithstanding anything in section fourteen of the Evidence Act, 1851, or any other Act, the registrar shall not furnish any copy of or extract from any entry in the formulœ book relating to any medicine to any person other than the registered owner of the medicine, and the registrar shall not, except with the consent of the registered owner of a medicine, produce or otherwise disclose the entry in the formula book relating to that medicine on any proceedings in any court, other than proceedings against a person for manufacturing or preparing for sale a pro- prietary medicine alleged to be compounded of ingredients or in proportions other than those specified in the register or proceedings on an appeal against the removal of a medicine from the register.
    "(5) A certificate purporting to be a certificate under the hand of the registrar stating that any person or any medicine or appliance is, or was at any date, or is not, or was not at any date, duly registered under this Act, or stating that any other particulars are, or were at any date, or are not, or were not at any date, contained in the register with respect to any person, medicine, or appliance registered therein, shall be conclusive evidence in all courts of law of the facts stated in the certificate."
    The noble Viscount said: I do not know if your Lordships want me to go into this Amendment and explain it in detail. I really explained the purpose when we were discussing Lord Emmott's Amendment.

    I suggest that the noble Viscount should put it in and then it will be a matter we shall have to consider on Report.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 2, line 38, at end insert the said new subsections.—(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 5:

    Regulations.

    5.—(1) The Minister may make regulations for the following purposes:—

  • (a) For regulating the formation and maintenance of the register:
  • (b) For regulating the manner in which applications for registration under this Act may be made, including the payment of such fees as may be prescribed, and for prescribing the conditions to be complied with by a person applying to be registered as the representative of the owner of any medicine or appliance:
  • (c) For proscribing the causes for which and the manner in which a registered owner may be removed from the register and the manner in which notice of such removal is to be given:
  • (d) For enabling particulars entered in the register with respect to any medicine or appliance to be varied or amended, and a new registration number to be issued in any case in which particulars are so varied or amended:
  • (e) For providing for any matter for which provision may be made by regulations under this Act and for prescribing any matter which is to be prescribed under this Act.
  • (2) Regulations under this section shall contain Provisions—

  • (a) requiring the prescribed particulars of the name or description under which a proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance is to be sold or offered or advertised for sale to be included in the register:
  • (b) requiring that a number shall he assigned to every medicine or appliance included in the register, and that every vessel or other package in which the medicine or appliance is sold or offered for sale shall bear the registered number:
  • (c)prohibiting the afflxing to or insertion in any such vessel or package as aforesaid of any other reference to the fact that the medicine or appliance is registered under this Act:
  • (d) requiring every person registered as an owner under this Act, who is not himself the manufacturer of the medicine or appliance, to furnsh in the prescribed manner the prescribed particulars with respect to the person by whom the medicine or appliance is manufactured:
  • (e)prohibiting the registration of any medicine unless and until full particulars of the ingredients of the medicine and the proportions in which those ingredients are used have been furnished to the registrar, including in the ease of medicated wines or spirits particulars of the alcoholic strength thereof, and prohibiting the registration of any medicine or appliance until full particulars have been furnished to the registrar of the directions for use which are to be supplied with the medicine or appliance when sold:
  • (f)enabling the Minister, if he so thinks fit, to direct that the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug forming an ingredient of any registered medicine shall be stated in the prescribed manner on all vessels or other packages in which the medicine is sold or offered for sale:
  • (g) requiring every proprietary medicine containing more than such an amount of alcohol as ought in the Opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein, having regard to the purposes for which the medicine is to be used, to bear on the vessel or other package in which it is contained a statement, in writing of the proportion of alcohol contained therein:
  • (h) prohibiting the registration of any surgical appliance unless and until a specimen thereof has been furnished to the registrar:
  • (i) prohibiting the afflxing to or insertion on or in any vessel or package containing any proprietary medicine or proprietary surgical appliance of any statement declaring that the medicine or appliance possesses any therapeutic qualities other than such qualities as are specified in the register as being the therapeutic qualities of that medicine or appliance.
  • (3) If any person acts in contravention of or fails to comply with the provisions of any regulation made under this section, or furnishes any false or misleading particulars for the purpose of or in connection with an application made under any such regulation, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    (4) Every regulation made under this Act shall be laid before each House of Parliament forthwith, and if an address is presented to His Majesty within twenty-one days on which that House has sat next after any such regulation is laid before it praying that the regulation may be annulled His Majesty in Council may annul the regulation, and it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

    moved to add to paragraph (a) of subsection (1) after "register," the words "and providing for the publication of any part of the register other than the formulœ book." The noble Viscount said: This enables us to maintain the secrecy of the formulœ and yet to publish for information a list of the owners of proprietary remedies. I think there can be no objection to this Amendment.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 10 after ("register") insert ("and providing for the publication of any part of the register other than the formulœ book ")—(Viscount Astor).

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Before we come to Lord Bledisloe's Amendment on subsection (d), may I ask the noble Viscount again whether, at a later stage, he would be prepared to say the sort of fees that are in the contemplation of the Ministry. I really do not know what fees are likely to be prescribed, but my own view is that they should be something substantial—something like £10, £20, or £50 a year in the case of those doing a large trade. It might be possible to vary them in the first or second year of a medicine's existence. I do not know whether any such scale has been considered, but perhaps the noble Viscount can give us some idea.

    I will see if I am in a position to give some sort of indication of the fee that would be charged.

    moved, at the beginning of subsection (1) (d), after "For enabling," to insert" the name and other." The noble Lord said: I do not want to press this Amendment, but I should think it would make clear what the intention of the Clause is.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 22, after ("enabling") insert ("the name and other").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, after paragraph (a) of subsection (2), to insert the following new paragraph—

    "(b) requiring that in the case of any synthetic drug sold as a proprietary medicine, the chemical name thereof shall appear on the label and in every advertisement relating thereto."
    The noble Lord said: That is to meet the cases of remedies sold under a great variety of names, although in fact identical. It is some little protection, particularly to the retail chemists who sell these preparations.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 36, at end insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I said earlier this afternoon that I was prepared to accept this Amendment if the noble Lord did not move a previous one.

    I take a synthetic drug to be a drug which is composed of a variety of natural products. I rather hesitate to give a definition in the presence of Lord Dawson.

    The question is what is the definition of a synthetic drug? I take it a synthetic drug is a drug which is not a natural product but by the mixture of certain natural ingredients becomes a drug.

    Would not a proper course be to provide us with a definition of the term "synthetic drug" so that it could go in the Bill?

    We have got a very great authority here. Perhaps he will be kind enough to give us a definition.

    It is rather awkward to give a definition right off, but, firstly, a synthetic drug is a drug which consists of one particular substance, and which is built up, molecule by molecule, from simpler substances so as to form one substance of varying complexity. For instance, if I may give an example, let us take aniline. It is a synthetic drug because it has a molecule made up partly of a nitrogen molecule and partly of a molecule derived from benzine. You may then go on building it up, adding or taking off molecules until you get a drug of varying complexity. That is the way 606 was built up. The point is it is a synthesis; it is a building up of one substance by adding molecule on molecule.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection 1(e), to delete "are to," and insert "will." The noble Lord said: I think the noble Viscount will accept this. It simply means that the particulars for use will be supplied instead of are to be supplied.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, lines 21 and 22, leave out ("are to") and insert ("will.").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2)(f) to leave out "poisonous or dangerous drug" and insert "article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908." The noble Lord said: This is a matter of the Minister being able to direct the name and quantity of any poisonous or dangerous drug to be stated. It seems a very wide power, and rather an uncertain power as regards its exercise, for the Minister to have. I have suggested that it should read: "any article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908."That contains a very large number of articles. It is continually being added to, and could be added to supposing there was anything discovered which the Minister wished to add.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, lines 25 and 26, leave out ("poisonous or dangerous drug") and insert ("article mentioned in the Schedule to the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1008").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I do not want to cover the ground again as to whether there are other drugs than poisons which could be injurious or prejudicial to health if unwisely used, and I suggest to Lord Askwith that, your Lordships having decided the point on Lord Emmott's Amendment, he should not move it here, particularly as there are a certain number of people who know perfectly well that certain drugs which are not poisonous do not agree with them, and it might be wise in certain cases to give them a warning by seeing that these particular drugs are labelled. I think it is probably only fair also that the doctor should know the contents, where the ingredients of particular remedies may be prejudicial to health, before recommending them.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, in subsection (2) (f), to leave out "drug" and insert "substance."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, line 26, leave out ("drug") and insert ("substance").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment. agreed to.

    moved, in subsection (2) (g), to leave out "ought in the opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein, having regard to the purposes for which the medicine is to be used," and to insert "is in excess of that required for solvent or preservative purposes." The noble Lord said: This again is vague as to what is meant—"such an amount of alcohol as ought in the opinion of the Minister properly to be contained therein." I suggest that, as it is well known what amount of alcohol is required in certain cases, according to the class of goods, the words I have proposed should be put in instead of the vague words at present employed.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, line 31, leave out from ("as") to the second ("to") in line 34, and insert ("is in excess of that required for solvent or preservative purposes").—(Lord Askwith.)

    I am prepared to accept this Amendment if the noble Lord would allow me, after the word "required," to add" in the opinion of the Minister," so that it would read

    "(g) requiring every proprietary medicine containing more than such an amount of alcohol as is in excess of that required in the opinion of the Minister for solvent or preservative purposes."
    I understand that sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to the exact amount of alcohol required—not a large amount; it may be a very small percentage—but I think it would be reasonable to make the Minister responsible for saying how much alcohol is required for this particular purpose.

    Amendment to the Amendment moved—

    After ("required") insert ("in the opinion of the Minister").—(Viscount Aster.)

    On Question, Amendment to the Amendment agreed to.

    On Question, Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 6:

    Removal from register of medicines and appliances.

    6. The Minister may, where it appears to him that any medicine or appliance which has been registered under this Act will or is likely if used in accordance with the directions for use issued therewith, or will or is likely for any other reason, to cause injury to health, direct that the medicine or appliance shall be removed from the register, and where the Minister gives any such direction he shall cause notice of the removal to be given in the London Gazette, and in such other manner as he thinks fit.

    moved, at the beginning, to insert: "Subject to the provisions of this section," with a view of inserting a further Amendment. The noble Viscount said: The object of the two Amendments in my name on the Paper is to give the registered owner an opportunity of stating his case in writing before a medicine registered by him is removed from the register. In order to try to meet Lord Askwith, who has an Amendment on the Paper, I should suggest adding the following words to my second Amendment—"And the Minister shall not give any public intimation of his intention until the expiration of the said twenty-one days." Thus, my second Amendment at the end of the clause would read as follows:

    "Provided that the Minister before giving a direction under this section shall send by post to the registered owner of the medicine or appliance notice in writing of his intention in that behalf and shall take into consideration any representations which may be made to him in writing with respect to the matter by or on behalf of the registered owner at any time within twenty-one days after the date of the sending of the notice, and the Minister shall not give any public intimation of his intention until the expiration of the said twenty-one days."
    I have put down this Amendment as an alternative to those which stand in Lord Askwith's name, and I have added those words to try still further to meet his point. I hope I have succeeded in doing so.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 6, line 19, at beginning insert ("Subject to the provisions of this section").—(Viscount Astor.)

    So far as it goes the Amendment seems to satisfy a good deal of the feeling that would have arisen if a Man's name were removed from the register, and possibly his whole business stopped, before he had any chance of saying anything in his own favour. But this Amendment, so far as it goes, leaves the matter with the Minister, and does not give a man who may have a very big business the right of appeal to the High Court from the Minister. Under the Bill, as introduced, it meant that the Minister might simply remove a man from the register without giving him any notice. desired that he should have notice first, and that then he should have the right of appeal to the High Court, and that prior to the decision of the High Court no steps should be taken to his detriment. As the noble Viscount proposes it, the Minister would give the decision and would give notice. I should be glad if he would consider the matter, or, after seeing exactly what his proposal is, I might possibly on the Report stage give the man that right to go to the Court.

    I should like to press the noble Viscount on the point I raised on going into Committee. This clause is the one I was trying to find when I made those observations, because it provides that the Minister may, where it appears to him that any medicine or appliance will or is likely to cause injury to health, direct that the medicine or appliance shall be removed from the register. Is that the only power of removal from the register which the Minister possesses? And is it limited to Clause 6? If so, I should like to ask what is the meaning of clause 5 (1)(c)

    "The Minister may make regulations for the following purposes:—
    "(c) For prescribing the causes for which and the manner in which, and registered owner may be removed from the register, and the manner in which notice of such removal is to be given."
    As I understand (c), there appears to be nothing limiting this, and the Minister has the absolute power to make Regulations for removing a man from the register because his name begins with B, if he likes, or any other reason.

    It is not limited at all. I do not know whether it is intended to have these two powers concurrently, or whether some Amendment to the drafting is wanted to make them agree. But I would submit the point of substance that I put before—namely, that it would surely be better not to limit himself to the fact that this "will or is likely to" cause injury to health, but to take the power to remove from the register if, in the opinion of the Minister, it is reasonable to do so. There may be other considerations. The public interest does give you a free hand, and does give you the reasons on which you desire to act. I should be glad to know what view is taken upon that point by the Ministry.

    Before the noble Viscount replies, might I enforce the views set forth by the noble Earl? Having very small experience of the drafting of Acts of Parliament it occurs to me that it is very important to have it made quite clear that, in the public interest, the Minister shall be able either to refuse the registration of a new remedy proposed—which would be fairly easy—or possibly even to withdraw the registration of one already existing. But the latter does not seem to be so important as the making of some provision whereby the Minister can refuse registration to any new remedy proposed, without any odium whatever attaching to the owner of that medicine. He may wish to withhold his consent because he thinks, for some reason, that it is likely to be deleterious to the public health, either because it contains an ingredient which, when used by unskilled people, would do harm, or because the particular way in which the remedy is presented to the public might, quite unintentionally and without any bad faith, produce an impression on the public mind which would lead them to use it and suffer thereby.

    The point I wish to emphasise is that it should be made clear that the Minister can, and shall I hope, especially in the case of any remedy in future, be perfectly free to withhold his consent without any odium of any kind attaching to the owner of the medicine. It might even be done confidentially. He may be told by an official, before he advertises it or puts it on the market, that it is an undesirable remedy in the public interest, although the owner may have put it forward in perfect good faith. I have not sufficient experience of the drafting of Bills to know whether this clause includes such a provision, but it seems to me it does not nearly definitely enough include the provision which to my mind is the vital part of the Bill if it is going to be of any real public service.

    I should like to protest against the principle which has been enunciated by the noble Lord, Lord Dawson. I think it is most dangerous that any such bureaucratic powers should be given to any Ministry. I agree with Lord Askwith that any registered owner who feels he has a grievance should have the right of going to the Courts and having the matter properly investigated. I consider that the Minister of Health should not have it in his power to ruin a man without any appeal and probably by secret action. All these Government Departments are most anxious to secure powers of this sort, often of a most drastic character, and they are very fond of acting in secret. They are always anxious that they should not be subject to the control of the Courts. I hope that Lord Askwith will insist on his Amendment, and that any registered proprietor whose property is attacked in this way will have the right of going to the Courts and putting his case before them in the ordinary manner.

    I am not quite certain to which of Lord Askwith's Amendments the noble Lord, Lord Riddell, is referring, because I notice that Lord Askwith proposes to strike out Clause 7, which gives the registered owner the right of appeal. I am very anxious that the owner should have the right of appeal.

    I am sure of it. If by any chance it should have been omitted, we would be prepared to insert it again. Under Clause 5 We have to draw up Regulations for various purposes, and I think there is no inconsistency in having a set of Regulations dealing with a case where either the owner or one of his remedies has to be withdrawn from the register. That is why we have put Clause 5 (1)(c) into the Bill. We propose to give the Minister the right of withdrawing a remedy or taking a person off the register if, in our opinion, either the remedy is injurious to health or the recommendations sold with the remedy are likely to be injurious. That is to say, we desire to see that the public receive due and adequate warning which will prevent them taking overdoses of any particular remedy. I do not know whether that explanation meets the points which have been raised. If your Lordships would like to go further into the question of withholding registration in the public interest, I will again consult my right hon. friend the Minister of Health and see whether we can meet the noble Lord, or whether it would be desirable to do so. At the present moment I cannot give an intimation in that direction.

    I am only anxious that the Minister should have as free a hand as possible.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    had on the Paper an Amendment, at the end of the clause, to insert the following provison:

    "Provided that the Minister before giving a direction under this section shall send by post to the registered owner of the medicine or appliance notice in writing of his intention in that behalf and shall take into consideration any representations which may be made to him in writing with respect to the matter by or on behalf of the registered owner at any time within twenty-one days after the date of the sending of the notice."

    The noble Viscount said: I desire to move the Amendment standing on the Paper in my name, with the addition of the following words at the end—

    "The Minister shall not give any public intimation of his intention until the expiration of the said twenty-one days."

    Amendment moved—

    Page 6, line 27, at end insert the said proviso as altered.—(Viscount Astor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 7 agreed to.

    Clause 8:

    Penalties.

    8. If any person is guilty of any offence which is declared by this Act to be a misdemeanour he shall be liable on conviction therefor to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, or to both such imprisonment and fine, and if any person is guilty of any other offence against this Act he shall be liable on summary conviction for each offence to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine not exceeding five pounds for each day during which the offence continues after conviction.

    moved to substitute "five hundred pounds" for "one hundred pounds." The noble Lord said: This Bill deals with both what are called misdemeanours, the more serious offences, and what are called "offences under the Act." I venture to suggest that this Bill will produce little or no effect unless the punishment is adequate to act as a deterrent. In view of the evidence which was brought before the Select Committee, which was very voluminous, in connection particularly with the advertising of alleged cures for incurable diseases, it was proved to us that a very large number of these persons were making enormous fortunes out of this particular line of fraud. I suggest to your Lordships that the simple levying of a fine of £100, which is equivalent to £50 before the war, will in no case act as a deterrent. There will have to be something substantially larger if this Bill is really to operate as a deterrent in the more serious cases.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 6, line 40, leave out ("one") and insert ("five").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    I should like an indication of your Lordships' views. If you are in favour of this Amendment we are prepared to accept it, but if your Lordships are not in favour of it I think we must oppose it.

    When I first read the Bill I was impressed by the smallness of the penalties, bearing in mind the very large profits which are made by the people against whom you are proceeding. It is like many of the fines imposed for more or less immoral traffic; if you do not make them really large you do not stop people committing the offence. It pays them to go on. And, again, these fines cover by no means all the minor cases.

    I rather agree with the noble Earl. I know there are certain provisions in this Bill which are rather doubtful. It deals with some very great evils, and a small fine, for the reason just stated, is useless. As far as I am concerned, I have not had time to consider it very much, but on the face of it I should have thought the Amendment was a good one.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.\

    moved to substitute "fifty pounds" for "twenty pounds." The noble Lord said: This is a similar but more modest proposal.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 7, line 2, leave out ("twenty") and insert ("fifty").—(Lord Bledisloe.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 9 agreed to.

    10. To avoid unnecessary disclosure of the composition or proportion of the ingredients of any proprietary medicine in the course of proceedings under this Act, it is hereby enacted—

  • (1) In all proceedings, criminal and civil, a report by an analyst of the Ministry of Health that he has made, or caused to be made, a proper analysis of the medicine, and that in his opinion it is not compounded of the ingredients or in the proportions specified in the register, shall be taken as sufficient prima acie evidence of these facts.
  • (2) In the case of any proceedings before a judge or judges, sitting without a jury, any further evidence shall be heard in camera and under such conditions of secrecy as the judge or judges may direct.
  • (3) In any criminal proceedings the accused person may elect to be tried by a judge without a jury.
  • The noble Lord said: I do not love these proprietary medicines or their owners, but if they are to be dealt with on the principle of the Bill, they must be dealt with fairly. There are elaborate provisions with regard to the secrecy of the register, and Viscount Astor has added one more to-day, by which only the Minister can prosecute. But unless some arrangement is made such as I propose, the register will not only not be secret but must be disclosed. Take a simple case where the Minister, on the advice of his analysts, considers that there has been a breach of Clause 1. Under that clause the analysis will show that the drugs are not in accordance with the registered formula or that they are not in accordance with the proportions. Analysts are not infallible, and the owner of a proprietary medicine who may have spent large sums of money in building up his business on this formula will be in the unlucky position, that if the Minister prosecutes the case must come before a Justice of the Peace. In that case the formula must be disclosed to prove a prima facie case, and there will necessarily be the production of a certified copy or the register itself. Accordingly the proposal I make is that a certificate by the analyst that the drug does not contain substances in the proportions of the register should be taken as sufficient prima facie evidence. So far as the Justices are concerned that will be sufficient and there will be no disclosure.

    Then the case comes before a Judge and jury. There again there is no process by which you can avoid a disclosure of the register, because the evidence which enables the offence to be proved must begin with an examination of the register and the experts who have made the analysis on both sides. I suggest that a possible way out of this difficulty is that the person who is accused of this breach of law should have the option of being tried by a Judge alone. But, if he is tried by a Judge alone, further precaution is still absolutely essential. In merely civil proceedings there may be a power in a Judge to hear cases in camera, but that would not apply at all, I have little doubt, in the case of a criminal prosecution if the person charged elected to be tried by a Judge alone. It is elementary that criminal proceedings must be public, and the evidence taken in public,

    unless the statuate otherwise Provides. I am not at sure, in Proceedings under Clause 6 and Clause 7, that it would not also be necessary to have a direct power to hear that part of the case which leads to the disclosure of the formula in camera. That is the meaning of the Amendment.

    It is very difficult to draft an Amendment to meet the case. The Amendment made by the noble Viscount meets to a very limited extent the objections which are in my mind. It only deals, so far as I can see, with proceedings under Clause 6, and the man who wants to appeal under Clause 6 must elect to have the whole disclosure made or the case will go against him by default. I do not think the Amendment made by the noble Viscount covers that case. What I am concerned about principally is a criminal proceeding under Clause 1, and unless some precautions are taken before the Justices, and when the case comes for trial, this secrecy which it is desirable to preserve would vanish.

    Amendment moved—

    After Clause 9, insert the said new clauses.—(Lord Shandon.)

    I would suggest that the noble and learned Lord should discuss with me an alternative phraseology, if he still thinks it necessary at a subsequent stage. As a matter of fact I do not think there is the danger he anticipates of the formula being disclosed. I think the proceedings would probably turn upon the absence, or presence, of a particular ingredient which might be prejudicial to health. That particular fact might come out, but there is no reason why the exact composition of the whole of the ingredients should come out in any trial. However, I understand that he is prepared to discuss with me the possibility of framing this new clause differently, and I shall be glad to be at his service.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    moved, after Clause 9, to insert the following new clause:

    "10. Nothing in this Act shall apply to the manufacture or sale of any medicine or surgical appliances solely for the purpose of exportation from the United Kingdom."

    The noble Lord said: The noble Viscount in charge of the Bill said that the export trade was not meant to be dealt with by this Bill, and in order to make that quite clear I propose this new Clause.

    Amendment moved—

    After Clause 9, insert the said new clause.—(Lord Emmott.)

    I have not had an opportunity of studying this Amendment and, if the noble Lord would agree, perhaps he would put it down for the Report stage. I wish to meet the particular case he has in mind but, without an opportunity of considering it with the Parliamentary draftsman, I think it would be unwise for me to accept it now.

    I have just received a Parliamentary pledge that the matter will be attended to. Therefore, I do not wish to press the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clauses 10 and 11 agreed to.

    I have a new Clause 11. I withdrew the proposed new Clause 10, but not the proposed new Clause 11.

    I beg the noble Lord's pardon. If the House will permit it the noble Lord might move it after Clause 11.

    I will not delay the House for more than a minute. The Amendment provides that "all analyses for the purposes of the Act may be made by the analysts in the service of the Ministry of Health and the expenses of the Department in respect thereof shall be deemed to be expenses of the Department, and may be defrayed accordingly." I believe I am accurate in saying that there are analysts attached to the Ministry. If there are to be any proceedings there must be analyses, and if you do not make some provision it appears to me you are in a difficulty.

    Amendment moved—

    Insert the following new caluse—

    "All analyses for the purposes of the Act may be made by the analysts in the service of the Ministry of Health,and the expenses of the department in respect thereof shall be deemed to be expenses of the department, and may be defrayed accordingly."(Lord Shandon.)

    I do not think this necessary. Moreover, it would raise a question of privilege.

    The words printed in italics are supposed not to be there, and we strike them out before we send them away. Of course, the Ministry of Health have full power to do what the Amendment provides.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Schedule:

    • 1. Cancer.
    • 2. Consumption.
    • 3. Lupus.
    • 4. Deafness.
    • 5. Fits.
    • 6. Epilepsy.
    • 7. Amenorrhœa and other diseases peculiar to women.
    • 8. Diabetes.
    • 9. Paralysis.
    • 10. Locomotor ataxy.
    • 11. Bright's disease.
    • 12. Rupture.

    Amendments moved—

    Page 8, line 12, leave out ("4. deafness").

    Page 8, Line 13, leave out ("12. Rupture").— (Lord Askwith.)

    On Question, Amendments agreed to.

    The Schedule, as amended, agreed to.