Medicines and Medical Devices Bill discussed in Committee
Advances have been made in the progression of the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill through Parliament as yesterday the Public Bill Committee met to discuss the Bill as well as amendments put forward by opposition Committee members. The topics discussed were human and veterinary medicines alongside the beginnings of discussions on the medical devices sections included in the legislation. Labour committee members stated their support for the Bill in light of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, yet pushed for amendments to be made on further clarity on patient safety, the development of medicines and medical devices as well as examining the increasing power of the Secretary of State.
Jo Churchill MP, the Government’s responsible Minister, maintained that patient safety lies at the heart of the Bill and discussed the regulatory model surrounding new therapies and medicine. Alex Norris MP, leader of the Opposition’s response, addressed a potential divergence affecting patient access to medical devices in the UK. Ms. Churchill responded that the UK would be in the same position as the EU as of January 2021 and consultation with stakeholders and industry would assure patient safety and access to devices is assured.
Regarding medical devices specifically, in response to concern from Mr. Norris over the EU being prioritised as a market over the UK post-January 2021, Ms. Churchill highlighted opportunities to implement positive changes such as publishing labelling online or providing pictorial information on how a device works. Such changes could move the industry forward in comparison to the EU’s. Innovation will be key to assuring market advantage, she said. Several innovation routes have already been established to support this, such as AAC and AHSNS, to ensure current and future patient need can be met.
When pressed on provisions for environmental sustainability in the medical devices market, Ms. Churchill assured the Opposition that Government is cognisant of the need to make ongoing environmental commitments and stated that medical device producers are bound to current existing legislation on this topic. Mr. Norris sought to ensure the Secretary of State maintains a register of UK representatives of non-UK manufacturers as part of the UK Device Register. Ms. Churchill noted the intention for this already exists and further talks would be held so the Bill could expand requirements for a more comprehensive record about a wider range of devices. Further examination of aspects relating to medical devices will take place tomorrow.