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Medicines and Medical Devices Bill returns to the Lords

3 February 2021

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The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in ‘ping pong’ on Tuesday 2 February.

Members discussed a range of topics including, draft consolidated legislation for human and veterinary medicine and medical devices, reporting on the operation of medicines and medical devices legislation and re-examination of the new law in five years time.

Members agreed to compromises proposed in lieu of earlier Lords changes to require the re-assesment of the new law and its provisions in the future.

Both Houses have now agreed the text of the bill: it awaits the final stage of Royal Assent, formal approval from the Queen, when it will become an Act of Parliament (law).

Third reading: Thursday 21 Janaury

Members discussed a number of amendments to tidy up the wording of the bill.

Members also considered the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

Report stage day two: Thursday 14 January

Members considered subjects including vaccination disinformation, veterinary medicines and creation of an independent patient safety commissioner.

There was one division (vote) on a proposed amendment (change) to the bill.

Disclosure of information

The division was on amendment 18, which allows a relevant authority to disclose information to a person outside the UK for the purpose of giving effect to an international agreement or arrangement concerning the regulation of human medicine, provided it is within the public

Members voted 312 in favour and 249 against, so the change was made.

Report stage day one: Tuesday 12 January

Members discussed a range of subjects including appointing a Commissioner for Patient Safety, medicinal cannabis and vaccination programmes.

There were three divisions (votes) on proposed amendments (changes) to the bill.

Sunset clause

The first division was on amendment 2, which provides a sunset provision for Part 1 of the Bill covering human medicines, requiring the Government to return with primary legislation.

Members voted 324 in favour and 241 against, so the change was made.

Scrutiny of new regulations

The second division was on amendment 3, which requires regulations that introduce significant new policy or changes to existing policy are subject, in relation to regulations made by the Secretary of State, to the super-affirmative procedure.

Members voted 320 in favour and 236 against, so the change was made.

Environmental protection

The final division was on amendment 7, which ensures environmental protection is considered in regulations on human and veterinary medicines.

Members voted 42 in favour and 278 against, so the change was not made.

Committee stage day seven: Thursday 19 November

Members discussed the creation of a Medical Devices Redress Agency, safety reviews and consultation with the devolved administrations.

The committee stage of this bill took place in Grand Committee, away from the chamber. In Grand Committee, any member can take part and decisions on amendments (changes) can be made, but no votes can take place.

Committee stage day six: Tuesday 17 November

Members discussed a range of topics, including patient consent, regulatory divergence in Northern Ireland and the establishment of an independent Patient Safety Commissioner.

Committee stage day five: Wednesday 11 November

Members discussed a range of topics, including extended prescribing rights, animal welfare and disclosure of information in regard to international agreements.

Committee stage day four: Wednesday 4 November

Members discussed topics including the safe transfer of patient data, clinical trials and disclosure of information in accordance with international agreements.

Committee stage day three: Wednesday 28 October

Members discussed a range of topics including the creation of an innovative medicines fund, disclosure of information and veterinary medicines.

Committe stage day two: Monday 26 October

Members discussed a range of topics including patient safety, the environmental and social impact of medicines and patient access.

Committee stage day one: Monday 19 October

Members discussed a range of topics, including prioritising patient safety, government powers to amend existing laws on medical devices and protection from controls outside the UK in the event of a trade deal.

Second reading: Wednesday 2 September

Lord Bethell (Conservative), Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Care, opened the debate. 

Speakers included the president of the British Medical Association Board of Science and the chair of the Independent Medicines and Medical Safety Review.

Medicines and Medical Devices Bill

The objectives of this bill are to:

  • introduce targeted delegated powers in the fields of human medicines, veterinary medicines and medical devices and enable the existing regulatory frameworks to be updated following the UK's departure from the EU
  • provide a delegated power to establish one or more information systems in relation to medical devices, consolidate the enforcement provisions for medical devices and introduce sanctions
  • provide an information gateway to enable the sharing of information held by the Secretary of State about medical devices, including to warn members of the public about safety concerns.

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