Before deciding to propose the repeal of the medicine stamp duties, I had the advantage of having before me the evidence given by the British Medical Association to the Select Committee of which my hon. Friend was a member. I would further refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) on the 23rd May.
Would it not be possible to ascertain from these medical gentlemen whether far too much medicine is not being taken by people in this country; and would it not be better if taxation were placed, not only on patent medicines, but on all medicines, and taken off good Scotch whisky?
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to take to prevent the proposed abolition of Medicine Stamp Duties leaving it open for drugs to be indiscriminately distributed by people with no knowledge of the contents and character of the goods they are handling, or even to be sold in slot machines?
Is not legislation desirable to provide that the prescription of what the medicine contains is clearly stated on the bottle, so that the public may know what they are taking?
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to allay the grave apprehension among pharmacists at the proposed repeal of the Medicine Stamp Duties as depriving them of an ancient right to be the only retailers of their own preparations unstamped, with a due sense of responsibility?
I do not consider that the repeal of the Medicine Stamp Duties need have the effect which my hon. Friend fears. It will be open to pharmacists who are at present the only retailers of their own preparations un stamped to continue this practice if they desire to restrict the channels of sale in this way; but repeal of the duties will remove the anomaly by which at present the same preparation may be sold unstamped by chemists but must be stamped when sold by traders who are not chemists.
Is it not desirable, in order to safeguard the public, that these patent medicines should be sold by chemists who know the ingredients and who would not sell them if they were actually detrimental?