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Medicines Control Agency: Regulation Proposals

Lord Thurlow asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The Better Regulation Task Force applies its principles of good regulation--transparency, accountability, targeting, consistency and proportionality--to ensure that government regulation is necessary, fair and affordable, and simple to understand and administer. The Medicines Control Agency applied those principles to development of the proposals in their Consultation Letter MLX 249.

Residential Services for People with Learning Disabilities

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The draft report has been received and is currently the subject of peer review. It was commissioned to provide health and local authorities with information on which to base their decisions about the provision of residential services for people with learning disabilities and will be published as soon as possible.

Medicines Directive 65/65/EEC

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: Council Directive 65/65/EEC of 26 January 1965 laid down criteria for the regulation or administrative action relating to medicinal products. The Government are not aware of any specific plans to review the operation of this directive. We will, however, continue to watch developments closely, as any ongoing discussion with the European Commission on the question of the regulation of herbal medicines could entail review of the impact of 65/65 EEC.

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The European Commission is required to undertake a review of Regulation 2309/93/EEC laying down Community procedures for the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products for human and veterinary use and establishing a European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products. The terms of the review are set out in the Regulation (Article 71) as "within 6 years of the entry into force on this Regulation [on 1 January 1995], the Commission shall publish a general report on the experience acquired as a result of the operation of the procedures laid down in this Regulation".

The Commission has not published details of how it intends to undertake the review.

Medicines Control Agency Consultation Paper MLX249

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many representations have been received from (a) Members of Parliament; and (b) others about the proposals set out in the Medicines Control Agency consultation document MLX249; and how many of those representations (a) broadly supported and (b) broadly opposed the proposals in that document.[HL1822]

Baroness Hayman: We have received 700 letters from Members of Parliament and 740 representations from other interested bodies and individuals. In addition, a recent campaign encouraging the public to write to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health has generated in excess of 2,000 letters. Three representations broadly support the proposals. The remainder are critical of the proposals to some degree.

Medicines Control Agency: Consultation Response

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider amending S.I. 3144/1994 (which enforced EC Directive 65/65), concerning the Medicines Control Agency and the definition of a medicine, to take account of the views expressed by the National Association of Health Stores.[HL1802]

Baroness Hayman: We are considering the views of all those, including the National Association of Health Stores, who responded to the recent consultation on the Medicines Control Agency's proposals to amend S.I. 3144/1994.

Medicines: Advertising Control

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What further information can be provided about the proposed independent panel which will review

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    preliminary decisions on advertising under Regulation 13 of the Medicines (Advertising and Monitoring of Advertising) Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 267).[HL1787]

Baroness Hayman: Officials at the Department of Health are currently preparing to approach appropriate bodies for nominations for potential members of the panel. We hope to select members with a suitable knowledge of medicines control from the legal and health professions together with a lay member to represent patient interests. Once selected, the panel will elect a chairperson and set its own terms of reference. The initial panel will serve for a period of one year; thereafter it will serve for a period of up to four years.

Quality Protects Programme: MAPs

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the evaluation of the Quality Protects Management Action Plans submitted to the Department of Health by local authorities.[HL1947]

Baroness Hayman: All local authorities submitted their Quality Protects Management Action Plans (MAPs) to the Department of Health by the end of January. The Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) have now completed their evaluation of the MAPs and we have considered their findings. We are pleased to announce that all the MAPs have reached an acceptable standard, and my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has written today to local authority chief executives to confirm that they will receive payment of their allocation of the children's special grant for 1999-2000, subject to parliamentary approval. We shall be publishing a national overview report, summarising the key findings from the evaluation of the MAPs and identifying the development needs which will be addressed over the three years of the Quality Protects programme. The team of Quality Protects Regional Development Workers in partnership with SSI will be assisting local authorities in their work to deliver the high quality children's social services which the Government require.

Foods Reclassified as Medicines

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To which companies the Medicines Control Agency has written in the last 12 months notifying them that it is considering classifying as a medicine products which they currently market as a food, indicating in each case the ingredients concerned and (a) the scientific and (b) the legal basis for the action.[HL1879 ]

Baroness Hayman: The Medicines Control Agency has considered the classification of over 900 products in

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the last 12 months. To give a specific reply to the noble Earl's Question would involve disproportionate costs.

Rough Sleepers, Victoria Street

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the number of rough sleepers in Victoria Street, London, is increasing or declining.[HL1888]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The most recent figures for numbers sleeping rough on any one night in the Victoria rough sleeping zone (which includes Victoria Street) are as follows:

Date of countNumbers of rough sleepers
February 1997*48
January 1998*31
June 199858
1 October 199856
22 October 199868
20 January 1999*44
23 March 1999*50

* Figures between December and March are usually lower, reflecting the availability of extra beds in winter shelters across London.\

In the last two years the numbers of rough sleepers counted in the Victoria rough sleeping zone have remained fairly static, against a recent trend in central London for numbers to rise. A total of 282 rough sleepers were contacted in Victoria on one or more occasions in the July to September 1998 quarter (including 142 for the first time) against 372 (including 135 for the first time) in the October to December 1998 quarter. A pilot study funded by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions around Victoria Street between January and March 1999 has sought to identify barriers to better provision for rough sleepers and find ways to overcome them. It focused efforts on finding suitable accommodation for rough sleepers, particularly those who have been on the streets for many years. On 23 March 1999 the pilot outreach teams in Victoria were working with 117 rough sleepers; 72 of them were in accommodation, including 26 who had been on the streets for years.

Vehicle Odometer "Clocking"

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures are being taken to counter "clocking" of vehicle odometers.[HL1882]

Lord Whitty: The Government are committed to stamping out the practice of clocking vehicle odometers to make recorded mileage more attractive to prospective purchasers of second-hand cars. It is already an offence for traders to misrepresent the mileage of a vehicle, and trading standards officers can take action against offenders under the Trades Description Act 1968. Any car dealer found to have been involved in clocking also risks losing his consumer credit licence.

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We are also committed to making more information on mileage available to the public. Mileage information is already recorded on the MOT test certificate and the current MOT computerisation project will make this more accessible in the future. Details of a vehicle's mileage is also requested when a change of keepership is notified to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). By the end of the year, this information will also be requested on the forms used when vehicles are relicensed each year. This will greatly increase the amount of mileage information that can be made available to the independent mileage recording companies. We are also currently considering how best to make the provision of mileage information a mandatory requirement on all DVLA's vehicle documents.

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