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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 28 Mar 1962

Vol. 194 No. 5

Pharmacy Bill, 1961— Committee Stage.

Is a Money Resolution not necessary?

Will some money not be required for the enforcement of the Bill?

No; there is no charge on public funds involved in this Bill.

Will there not be some money necessary for its enforcement?

The Pharmaceutical Society take all the proceedings under the Act.

Section 1 agreed to.

(South Tipperary): I move amendment No. 1:

Before Section 2 to insert as follows:

"Nothing contained in this Act or in any regulations made thereunder shall operate to abolish, delimit, curtail or render less operative functionally the existing grade of assistant pharmacist."

I notice in this Bill there is no mention whatsoever of assistant pharmacist. In view of the fact that such qualification has existed down through the years, I am anxious to ensure that their interests will be preserved in this Bill.

In retail shops up and down the country, many chemists employ an assistant. The assistant has a modified qualification. He does three years in a retail shop. Then he does six months' lectures and then does an examination. The duties of an assistant are simply that he can do temporary duty for a qualified pharmacist for a period of two months and also, he can act as a cover for the principal.

I submit that, in view of the fact that a lot of the work done in the ordinary retail chemist shops consists of little more than selling cosmetics and cameras, it would seem ridiculous to have a situation arise whereunder nobody would be employed in these shops except a person who had taken a degree in pharmacy at a university. It would also mean that a number of poor people who could qualify as an assistant and get employment would for ever be precluded from that type of occupation. Furthermore, it would mean that the average pharmacist would find it more expensive to run his retail business and, as a consequence, the cost of these services to the public would be increased. It is for these reasons that I have moved this amendment, namely, to preserve that particular qualification as assistant pharmacist and also in the interests of those who already are assistant pharmacists.

It is said that any assistant pharmacist can afterwards qualify as a full pharmacist now as in the past. I feel that as that type of person is not mentioned in the Bill, it may afterwards transpire that the post of assistant pharmacist may be obliterated in time, to the detriment of the average retail pharmacist and consequently to the cost to the consumer.

The mover of this amendment is under a misapprehension. There is nothing in the Bill relating to assistant pharmacists. The reason for that is that their present position is not being altered in any way.

The existing statutory provision relating to assistants to pharmaceutical chemists is Section 19 of the Pharmacy Act (Ireland), 1875, Amendment Act, 1890: It reads as follows:

"19. The council may cause examinations to be held at such times and in such manner as may be prescribed by them from time to time for the purpose of examining assistants to pharmaceutical chemists, and such assistants as shall pass such examinations shall be competent to transact the business of a licentiate of the Pharmaceutical Society in his temporary absence, but shall not be entitled to conduct or manage a business or to keep open shop on their own account."

This section is not being repealed. It will stand as part of the law and there will accordingly be no interference with the existing rights of an assistant to a pharmaceutical chemist to transact the business of a registered pharmaceutical chemist in his temporary absence.

The examinations for qualification as assistant to a pharmaceutical chemist will continue to be held. My legal advice is to the effect that nothing in the Bill will affect the method whereby a person may become qualified as an assistant to a pharmaceutical chemist or whereby an assistant can qualify as a pharmaceutical chemist. Therefore, the amendment is not necessary.

To clear my mind on the matter, the amendment refers to assistant pharmacists.

It is the same thing.

At the moment, under the existing law, perhaps the Minister might tell us if an assistant pharmacist can keep open shop?

Not on his own account. He can only manage the business in the temporary absence of the Licentiate of the Pharmaceutical Society.

Therefore, the restriction proposed in Section 2, according to what the Minister says, cannot affect the assistant pharmacist?

No. He would still be entitled to man it in the temporary absence of the proprietor.

It may be that the question of registration arises in subsequent sections of the Bill.

I think he would be registered as an assistant pharmacist. There is nothing in the Bill as it stands which will affect the existing position of the assistant to a pharmaceutical chemist.

Possibly on Section 6 a question may arise in relation to assistant pharmacists. Perhaps we can defer it?

Perhaps so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

There are a number of amendments, Nos. 2, 5, 9 and 17, which, I think, could be taken together.

All to Section 2?

Amendment No. 9 is consequential on amendments Nos. 17, 2 and 5. I move amendment No. 2:

In page 2, subsection (1), between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following paragraph:

(b) the person is—

(i) the legal personal representative of a person who at the time of his death was lawfully keeping open shop for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions, or

(ii) the trustee or committee of a person lawfully keeping open shop for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions who is adjudged bankrupt or becomes an arranging debtor or becomes of unsound mind,

and the shop and the dispensing and compounding of medical prescriptions therein are personally managed by an authorised person, or.

The purpose of this amendment is to extend the right to keep open shop for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions so as to provide for the continuance of such business where the person keeping open shop dies or becomes bankrupt or of unsound mind. The open shop in such cases may be kept by the representatives of the person but it will have to be managed by an appropriately qualified person. The keeping of open shop in these circumstances will be subject to regulations made by the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society. The regulations will be made under the new expanded subsection providing for regulations, proposed to be inserted by Amendment No. 9.

The provision in so far as it relates to the continuance of business after the death of a person keeping open shop is a modern version, expanded to cover both pharmaceutical chemists and allied classes, of an existing provision—Section 32 of the 1875 Act—which related to pharmaceutical chemists only, and which, under Amendment No. 17 will now be repealed. In so far as the provision relates to keeping open shop in the event of bankruptcy or unsound mind, it is new to our Pharmacy legislation but is in line with the corresponding legislation in Britain and Northern Ireland.

The amendment is in line with the views of the Pharmaceutical Society and the Apothecaries Hall in this matter.

The amendment seems reasonable but may I just express surprise that it should be found necessary? It appears strange to me that those responsible for the drafting of the Bill were not aware some considerable time ago that this obvious omission exists in the heads of the Bill. It surprises me that the provision now proposed to be inserted did not in fact appear in the green draft which we have in front of us now. It is perfectly clear that this amendment, which, on my information, became apparent as a result of the discussion of the provisions of the Bill between the Apothecaries Hall and the Pharmaceutical Society, should be inserted and that it is a desirable amendment.

I am not joining issue with the Deputy, but let me say this, that it was not considered necessary when the only contingency we had in mind was the death of a qualified person who was keeping open shop. We have brought in the amendment first of all, to revise the wording of the original section and to extend that merciful provision to those who might become of unsound mind.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In page 2, line 30, to delete "shop is" and to insert "shop and the dispensing and compounding of medical prescriptions therein are".

This is a drafting amendment only.

Again, may I make precisely the same remarks in regard to this drafting amendment? My information is that this very necessary drafting amendment was suggested some 18 months ago.

I do not know the source of the Deputy's information and I cannot pass judgment upon its reliability.

However, it is obviously necessary.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In page 2, line 35, after "corporate" to insert "or any authorised person".

Amendments Nos. 4 and 6 may be taken together.

The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that a person keeping open shop run by a company for the dispensing and compounding of medical prescriptions may not at the same time be employed to manage a similar shop for a registered pharmaceutical chemist, a registered dispensing chemist and druggist or a licentiate of the Apothecaries Hall. Amendment No. 6 would have the same effect but it is in respect of a person who keeps open shop for the sale of poisons as distinct from open shop for the compounding and dispensing of medicines.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5.

In page 3, subsection (2), between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following paragraph:

"(b) the person is—

(i) the legal personal representative of a person who at the time of his death was lawfully keeping open shop for the sale of poisons, or

(ii) the trustee or committee of a person lawfully keeping open shop for the sale of poisons who is adjudged bankrupt or becomes an arranging debtor or becomes of unsound mind,

and the shop is personally managed by an authorised person or a registered druggist, or".

This amendment has already been discussed with amendment No. 2.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 3, line 13, after "corporate" to insert ", any authorised person or any registered druggist".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:

Before subsection (3) to insert a new subsection as follows:—

"(3) No person shall be employed by a manufacturing or wholesale chemist in the sale of poisons whose qualifications do not accord with those of an authorised person as defined in the Acts."

I move this amendment for the purpose of clarification. I am not clear whether there is any legal provision that a person acting as traveller for manufacturing or wholesale chemists must have certain qualifications. While we are very strict, and rightly so, about the qualifications a person must have who is in charge of a chemist shop, we should be equally strict in regard to persons acting as travellers for the sale of medicines which may be termed poisons. With the best will in the world, I do not think it is possible for the average doctor to keep up to date with the wonderful modern developments taking place in various therapeutic preparations coming on the market with the speed of light. I know that finally we must make our own judgment but it is desirable that we should have intermediaries between the medical profession and the wholesalers who would have a certain amount of authority, and that the professional man should be able to rely on whatever he is told by this traveller. If it is a fact that such travellers already must be so qualified, then my case falls to the ground but I do think there is a case, where a layman is dealing with dangerous drugs, dangerous from the point of view of the poisons they contain or the side-effects they may have on the patient, for his being able to talk on level terms with the doctor so that any information which he has will be information which has been explained to him and which he understands because of his training and on which the doctor can rely.

While not disagreeing with the intention expressed by Deputy Dr. Browne in this amendment, there is a difficulty in it which needs particularisation. Firstly, "No persons shall be employed" seems to cover all employees which would be going rather far. However, I do agree with Deputy Dr. Browne as regards the necessity for control and to have properly qualified Pharmacists in charge and in certain cases actually carrying out the operations necessary to secure the standard which Deputy Dr. Browne as a doctor would require.

He has raised an interesting point which I think the Minister might consider, that is, the relationship between the doctor and the manufacturing chemist. Recently, I had reason to inquire in an academic way into the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations and their distribution to the medical profession. As Deputy Dr. Browne rightly remarks, the doctor in modern times is largedly dependent on the guarantee of the firm which sells to him any particular preparation. As to their efficacy, they are dependent on the salesmen of these organisations and in those circumstances, it might be desirable to consider the qualifications of the intermediary, whether he be a professional salesman or whatever he may be. This is a matter which should be considered but I think the wording of the amendment would require some particularisation. It appears to me to be too wide.

There is another point which I should like to make and it is this— what do you mean by chemist? Traditionally, to the man in the street, the chemist means the pharmaceutical chemist around the corner. Now, however, the term chemist is very much wider. There are very large classes of chemical practitioners who are not in any way related to the pharmaceutical industry at all. There are physical chemists, organic chemists and even bio-chemists, all practising professionally in this modern complex world and most of them have no relationship with the practice of pharmacy at all.

The words "manufacturing or wholesale chemist," strictly speaking, could apply to the manufacture of chemicals for industrial purposes or to the wholesaling of them for industrial purposes. That is a large business in itself and I do not think that Deputy Dr. Browne intends to capture these by such an amendment. Again, I should imagine that there are substances classified as poisons pharmaceutically which have a large industrial usage and are manufactured industrially. Is a poison such as cyanide classified as a poison pharmaceutically? If it is, it would mean that no one could manufacture cyanide and the illogical result would follow that a person engaged in electroplating or gold mining and who is using cyanide would have to be a pharmacist. This is an important legal point and I thank Deputy Dr. Browne for giving me the opportunity of raising it. There are probably other substances that I could think of in the same connection.

I have seen large chemical factories on the Continent where there are a number of plants but where one division is pharmaceutical. You have such things as a chlorine plant, a sulphuric acid plant and certain organic chemical plants with no direct relation to pharmacy and you have a unit dealing with pharmaceutical preparations, all in the one factory. Quite clearly, what Deputy Dr. Browne wishes here is to ensure that in so far as pharmaceutical preparations are concerned, they should be produced by adequately skilled personnel and in this case the role of the pharmacist is important. There is something more, that in the chain of selling and in the chain of information in regard to these things, some qualifications should be necessary. There is the question of how we can divide pharmaceutical chemists from other chemists in view of the peculiar use of the word "chemist" in the pharmaceutical sense. I say that on behalf of the other body of chemists who are not less chemists than the pharmacists. I would ask the Minister to see that such adequate distinction should be made.

I take Deputy Dr. Browne's point to be that we should ensure that anyone who is travelling around, as many high-class firms have travellers, to the medical profession should be fully qualified as pharmacists so that they may be able to put up these products to the doctors who are dealing with them. These people do not actually sell the products. They travel on behalf of them and they make known to the medical man concerned what they consist of and they place before them the new products that come out from time to time. I think the Minister should give it active consideration, irrespective of whether or not it is necessary, because most of the travellers I have had dealings with, particularly if they represent well-known firms, such as Burroughs Wellcome and Co. or Parke Davis, are qualified chemists and have themselves actually served behind the counter in the dispensing and sale of drugs. There are, however, other people connected with the lesser known firms who are not pharmaceutical chemists. Therefore, for the purpose of tying this up completely so that it will be conducted by a qualified profession, there is a great deal in Deputy Dr. Browne's amendment. I suggest the Minister might seriously consider accepting it.

First of all, let me point out that this Bill relates only to what might be described as sale by retail and it prescribes only the qualifications to be possessed by those individuals who compound and dispense medical prescriptions for the general public, whose knowledge of these matters may be taken to be not extensive. It also deals with that class of individuals who sell poisons as distinct from medicines, and prescribes the qualifications to be possessed by them if they are to be entitled to sell poisons by retail. As I said, these two classes deal with the general public whose knowledge may be taken to be limited.

The representatives of manufacturers and wholesalers do not deal with the general public. They deal with pharmaceutical chemists who are qualified to form their own views as to the safety with which these drugs may be handled or their efficacy as curative agents; or they are dealing with medical practitioners whose knowledge is, I assume, no less than that of the pharmaceutical chemists. There is not, therefore, the same need to impose restrictions upon the type of person who may be sent out, not to sell but to solicit orders, from those who are in a position to ascertain for themselves, if they have any doubt whether it will be safe to handle the commodities offered to them and passed on by them by retail to the public.

Apart from that fundamental fact, this Bill relates only to those who sell and dispense medical prescriptions to the general public or to that other class whose powers of sale are more limited in that they are restricted to selling poisons to the general public and who will have further guidance. The schedule of poisonous substances is already in existence and it will be further expanded when Comhairle na Nimheanna is set up, as it will be, next month.

This amendment is not necessary to establish the proper controls on wholesale dealing in poisons. The sale of poisons will be dealt with basically in regulations under Section 14 of the Poisons Act passed last year. The class of persons who may deal in poisons and the conditions to be complied with in such dealing will be specified in regulations under subsection (3) (b) of that particular section. In the Act itself, it is provided that these regulations relate to wholesale and retail dealing. The word "sale" is defined as "sale includes sale by wholesale and sale by retail, and cognate words shall be construed accordingly."

These regulations to be made by the Board can cover to the extent necessary the specification of what classes of persons may engage in wholesale dealing in poisons. The purpose of subsection (2) of Section 2 of the Bill, to which the amendment has been moved, is merely to preserve the existing rights of authorised persons and registered druggists in retail dealing in poisons so that these rights cannot be wiped out under regulations made under Section 14 of the Poisons Act. As the law stands, Section 31 of the Pharmacy Act of 1875 specifically excludes wholesale dealing from the scope of that measure. This Bill is based upon the 1875 Act and is really a modernisation of certain provisions in that measure.

All the regulations made after consultation with Comhairle na Nimheanna in relation to poisonous substances will be laid on the Table of the House and can be discussed here in the House. If any Deputy feels that a regulation should be annulled because it does not prescribe the qualifications to be possessed by those who are employed by manufacturers or wholesalers to solicit orders, because that is what they do, he can put down an amendment or raise the matter here in discussion. If necessary, the regulation can thus be defeated and sent back to the Minister.

In the circumstances, I suggest Deputy Dr. Browne should withdraw his amendment. This is not the Bill to which it should be made and another opportunity will be offered in the not too distant future for discussing the qualifications which should be possessed by those who solicit orders for drugs and medicines on behalf of manufacturers or wholesalers.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 8 is in the name of the Minister. If the House agrees, perhaps amendments Nos. 14, 15 and 16 could be discussed with amendment No. 8.

Amendment No. 16 is the really important one. If I explain the purpose of that, it will be easier to make clear what it is proposed to do in amendment No. 8 and the other amendments.

The amendments can be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 3, line 17, to delete "Act" and to insert "section".

This amendment is really consequential on amendment No. 16. The purpose of amendment No. 16 is to provide for the commencement of different provisions of the Act on different days, in spite of the entire Act being brought into operation at the one time as was originally intended. When that Act was being drafted, it had not been anticipated that regulations under Section 14 of the Poisons Act, 1961, could have been made before this Bill became law. The making of these regulations will in general have to await the recommendations of Comhairle na Nimheanna. That Comhairle has now been established, but in view of the wide field of their activities, it may be some little time before they are in a position to furnish their recommendations.

The regulations under the Poisons Act, as I have said, would inter alia specify the classes of persons entitled to engage in the sale of poisons. If the Pharmacy Act were to be brought into operation in its entirely at a time when regulations under the Poisons Act had not yet been made, it would mean that the only classes of persons entitled to engage in the selling of poisons would be those specified in Section 2 of the Bill. That section does not provide for the sale of poisons used exclusively for agricultural or veterinary purposes by agricultural traders, seedsmen and similar classes of persons who are licensed to do so under Section 2 of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act, 1908. That section exempts these traders from the general provisions relating to the keeping of open shop for the sale of poisons contained in Section 30 of the 1875 Act and Section 15 of the 1890 Act. The commencement of Section 2 of the Bill and the concurrent repeal of Section 30 of the 1875 Act and Section 15 of the 1890 Act, prior to the making of regulations under the Poisons Act would therefore withdraw the protection now enjoyed by this class of trader and would mean that the operations of all such persons would be illegal. This was not intended when the Poisons Act was going through, and it is necessary to safeguard all existing rights by taking power to bring the Act in, section by section. I am now reverting to amendment No. 8, and there are a number of other amendments as well.

Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 are consequential.

Reverting to amendment No. 8, it will be seen it is merely a drafting amendment. It adapts a reference to "the commencement of the Act" to "the commencement of this section". This is, as I said, a necessary corollary to amendment No. 16 and that applies also to amendments Nos. 14 and 15.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

In page 3, lines 29 to 37, to delete subsection (5) and to insert the following subsection:

"(5) The Council shall, with the approval of the Minister, make such regulations as the Council thinks appropriate—

(a) for the purpose of giving full effect to and ensuring compliance with the provisions of this section, including provisions requiring—

(i) the keeping of records in relation to premises where open shop is kept for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions or the sale of poisons and in relation to persons employed in such shops, and

(ii) the furnishing of statements and returns,


(b) in relation to the keeping of open shop for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions or the sale of poisons by the persons referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section, including regulations prohibiting the keeping of such open shop by those persons after the expiration of periods specified in the regulations (unless authorised by the Council to do so for periods specified by the Council) and regulations specifying either the same or different such periods for different purposes."

This amendment was discussed with amendments Nos. 2 and 5.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Would the Minister agree to re-commit Section 1?

If the Deputy would be good enough to tell me why?

I wanted to raise something in relation to Section 1.

The trouble is that Section 1 has been passed.

I have no objection if it would help the Deputy to make a point.

We can do it on Report Stage.


I move amendment No. 10:

In page 4, line 28, after "premises" to insert "and consisting of or including the selling by retail of drugs or poisons".

Subsection (4) of Section 3 prohibits the use, in connection with any business, of a description, title or emblem which might reasonably suggest that the person conducting the business or a person employed by him possessed some qualifications in pharmacy unless such person in fact has such qualifications. Subsection (5) lists a number of descriptions— pharmacy, medical stores, drug stores, drug hall, medical supply stores and chemist, the use of which in connection with a business, will be regarded as suggesting the possession of qualifications in pharmacy. The Institute of Chemistry, which represents the persons with academic qualifications in chemistry to whom Deputy de Valera referred, have protested that the provisions appear to equate the use of the description "chemist" in connection with a business with the possession of qualifications in pharmacy. They claim that their members' rights to the use of the description "chemist" in connection with a business might thus be infringed on. It had been considered that the use of the description "chemist" by persons other than pharmacists, would be a description of professional status rather than a business description. The amendment, however, will remove any doubts and will specify that it is only in connection with a premises where the business of retail pharmacy is allegedly carried on that the description "chemist" is forbidden to non-pharmacists. Persons with academic qualifications qualified in chemistry will be free to use the description "chemist" in connection with the manufacture or distribution of chemical products.

I think that meets the point made by my friend, Deputy de Valera.

(South Tipperary): I want to be clear in regard to subsections (5) and (7). Subsection (5), as I understand it, states that a pharmacist may use the terms “pharmacy, medical stores, drug stores, drug hall, medical supply stores, chemist” over his shop. There is also a word “apothecary” seen used over chemist's shops. That word is not covered there at all.

Is it the Deputy's point that we should forbid people to use the term "apothecary"?

(South Tipperary): No. A licentiate of Apothecaries Hall can use the word “medical hall”. Can he use the word “apothecary”?

I think he can. He is an apothecary. That is what he is. I think it arises more properly on amendment No. 11.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 11.

In page 4, lines 39 to 43, to delete subsection (7) and insert the following subsection:

"(7) This section shall not apply in relation to the use by a licentiate of Apothecaries Hall who keeps open shop for the dispensing or compounding of medical prescriptions or the sale of poisons of the description of medical hall in respect of the premises where the dispensing or compounding or the sale is carried on."

This is a drafting amendment. The intention of the amendment, which involves the substitution of a revised subsection for the original subsection (7), is to make it quite clear that the right of a licentiate of Apothecaries Hall to use the expression "medical hall" in respect of a premises where he carries on business applies to a premises where such a licentiate dispenses or compounds medical prescriptions or sells poisons. He is entitled to describe himself as an apothecary, and I do not think anybody else except a licentiate of Apothecaries Hall is entitled to so describe himself.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

This is the section which confers power on the Pharmaceutical Society to hold examinations, to run courses for students and to charge fees.

Just a question on this section. This Society will regulate the examinations in schools of pharmacy and I have been informed it is desirable something more than the retail side of pharmacy should be taken into account in the matter of representation on the council of the Society. There are other important branches of pharmacy developing.

There is hospital pharmacy, public health pharmacy, research pharmacy in the university schools of pharmacy. I should accordingly like to ask the Minister whether any consideration has been given to the bringing in of these interests to the council. Another way of putting the question is whether there is a case for broadening the constitution of the council of the Society so as to include representation on the council of those important branches of pharmacy which I have mentioned. There is also, of course, industrial and manufacturing pharmacy.

The fundamental fact we have to remember when talking about pharmacists, whether they are pharmacists who keep open shop for the sale of poisons or those who are employed by manufacturers, is that they have qualified as pharmacists by examinations held by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and that their fundamental training does not differ in any way from that received by the pharmacists who make a living by keeping open shop or who are in the employment of persons who keep open shop.

There is the difference, of course, that the people who keep open shop in the end are the people who support this Society; it is they who have to pay fees for registration and for the provision of these courses and through which the other classes of pharmacists referred to secure their qualifications to practise. There is no reason whatever why those who are employed by manufacturing chemists or those working for local authorities or in hospitals or other institutions should not join the Society and become entitled, through their votes and their support to secure representation on the council. Neither is there any real justification for trying to establish in a special position those who have not done so very much to advance the profession of pharmacy as those who have maintained the Pharmaceutical Society since it was first established. Those who complain that they are not sufficiently represented on the council have a perfectly good remedy—they can join the Society, participate in its proceedings and share the burden of defraying the costs of the Society's functions.

Just to have the matter clarified, Section 4 deals with the educational functions of the Pharmaceutical Society. Am I to take it that it is envisaged in this Bill that this Society will have the power to confer a degree other than the degree of pharmaceutical chemist?

If the Deputy will look at Section 7, he will see that there is provision made for a higher qualification.

That would be the degree of pharmaceutical chemist. They are confined entirely to that degree. They will have no authority to confer any other degree such as one in biochemistry?

Just a degree in pharmacy.

I think the Minister misunderstood me. I was assuming that the persons I referred to—what I would call the new specialities in pharmacy—were only members, licentiates or graduates of the Pharmaceutical Society. I quite agree there is no conflict between the Minister and myself about the unity of the profession. Let me confess that I am making the point because it was made to me. The point was that because of the growth of the profession in those other fields, it might perhaps lead to an improvement in the structure of the Society if those people were more widely represented on the council. The plea was simply this—to make the point that within the Society itself, from the point of view of balanced, up-to-date and progressive courses, these other interests I have mentioned, these younger branches of pharmacy, would get adequate representation.

To clear that point up, there is nothing to prevent that under the present system. There are public hospital pharmacists who are members of the council, manufacturing pharmacists and wholesale pharmacists, who have been members of the council. Any pharmaceutical chemist can become a member of the council, irrespective of what branch of pharmacy he follows, wholesale, retail, public appointment or any other.

The point these people are making is this, that having done very little, when they failed even to become members of the Society, they want to secure greater representation on the Council. I do not think that is fair. If they want to secure greater representation on the Council, there is an open road. If they want to be able to influence more heavily the courses provided by the Council, let them joint the Society, pay the subscription, get a vote and get the representation on the Council which they are now seeking as a special concession.

I gather from what the Minister says there is something he is cognisant of that I am not. Question put and agreed to.


Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

This is the section allowing the Society to enter into reciprocal arrangements.

(South Tipperary): With the upgrading of the Pharmaceutical College now, students will have to do three years in U.C.D. and two of B.Sc. in Pharmacy and, after that, I understand, one year practical and then graduates sit for some small licentiate examination before the Pharmaceutical Society and then achieve membership of the Society.

We are now in a position, as regards qualification, and from a statutory point of view, to seek reciprocal arrangements with Great Britain. In those circumstances, would it not be a desirable adjustment to facilitate the inclusion of some medical representatives, as obtains in Britain? I feel if that were done, it would facilitate our negotiations for the establishment of reciprocal arrangements. In the absence of such arrangements at present, all an Irish pharmacist can do is to go to England and practise there as an unqualified person. He may get more money but he is regarded as unqualified, in the absence of reciprocal arrangements. I suggest the inclusion of some medical representatives on the Council in order to facilitate negotiations.

I put one question to the Deputy: would he permit members of the Pharmaceutical Society to be represented on the General Medical Registration Council or on the council of the Irish Medical Association? I think he would not.

If they were qualified doctors, yes.

What is being asked is that I should have members of one profession acting on the council of another.

(South Tipperary): The Minister is introducing statutory regulations here. What I suggest obtains in England.

The point Deputy Hogan has made is surely worth considering. The constitution of the council of the Pharmaceutical Society is, as laid down in the parent statute of 1875. At that stage, the Society was quite a different Society from what is now envisaged under this Bill. It has grown up. Its activities are very much extended and the effect of the work its members are going to do obviously will have a much different effect on the medical profession and on other bodies. Elsewhere, certainly in England, if my information is correct, the council does consist of much wider and broader representation than here and it does include medical practitioners. It also includes representatives of the teaching department. Here it is confined, as at present constituted, to members of the Pharmaceutical Society. It expressly excludes doctors and anyone who has anything to do with teaching. That seems to be a very confined constitution. While I appreciate that the Bill here is of a limited aspect and scope, it does appear that at some stage the Minister must consider the proper composition of the council and whether the council should not be recognised to deal more effectively with the added scope of the Society itself.

I want to direct the attention of the House to the fact that the council is in fact, prohibited by law from conducting examinations which might be held to be purely medical examinations. There is a provision in Section 21 of the 1875 Act that the Society's examinations "shall not include the theory and practice of medicine, surgery, or midwifery or any branch of medicine or surgery; and the examiners appointed by the council are hereby empowered, after such examinations respectively, to grant or refuse to such persons, as in their discretion may seem fit, certificates of competent knowledge and qualification and skill to be registered as pharmaceutical chemists or as chemists and druggists under this Act." I imagine that that restriction was imposed on the council in the interests of the pharmaceutical chemist.

(South Tipperary): So far as the qualifications in pharmacy will be adopted here and the teaching associated with it, if it is to follow parallel lines with Britain, there will be a growing emphasis away from pure dispensing and increasing emphasis on drugs, even on physiology, and on public health. I ask the Minister to consider that aspect of the matter, particularly in view of the fact that it would be desirable in the public interest to have medical representatives on the council as well as pure pharmacists.

Question put and agreed to.

(South Tipperary): I move amendment No. 12:

To delete subsection (3) and (4) and substitute a new subsection as follows:

(3) The Council may charge a fee in respect of registration and the amount of such fee shall be determined from time to time by the Council with the consent of the Minister.

What I hope to do here is the imposition of an annual levy. At the moment I think there are 1,100 chemists who are members of the Pharmaceutical Society and 1,500 who are not members. I think membership means paying four guineas per annum.

I feel that in all these matters the question of free association arises. When a doctor qualifies, he pays a fee for registration. That is just one fee. It gives him the right to practise. After that, he may, if he wishes, join the I.M.A. or the B.M.A., but it is voluntary, and he has to pay an annual fee.

I feel that association should make itself sufficiently attractive to get everybody to join voluntarily. I should like to see every doctor here a member of the I.M.A.; they are not. However, I should be the last person in the world to suggest that any statutory provision should be made to force them to join; just the same as I feel it might be desirable that men in certain vocations should belong to a certain association or union.

I feel at the same time we should not introduce legal provisions to compel people to join a certain association or union, whether it be the Boilermakers' Union or any other union. The same principle of free association obtains here, particularly when you think that the majority will now be forced by statute to become members.

This is a Bill dealing only with retail shops, ordinary chemist shops in our towns and villages. Yet, this Bill envisages incorporation by statute, the compulsion to pay an annual fee by everybody, whether he works in a hospital, in some kind of dispensary for an income or whether he is a traveller on the road for some pharmaceutical house.

I believe that for that type of person who does not keep open shop to be asked to pay an annual fee into a society, which he has not been doing up to this, is an interference with free association. It is even complained that under existing conditions—whether or not it will improve the new Bill is another matter — hospital teaching pharmacists are not sufficiently represented at the moment in the Pharmaceutical Society.

If you join any medical association, you get something in return. If you join the Royal Society of Medicine or the B.M.A., you get the services of a journal. You get a library and advisory service. They even provide rooms, if you attend luncheon, or other places, and they provide for post-graduate courses. Here, men are being asked to pay an annual fee and there is no talk of a journal, no talk of their getting anything in return for this annual fee which they are being forced to pay. I understand it is being set aside for the education of future pharmacists. In other words, I am being asked to pay a levy, by Act of Parliament, to educate somebody else in the same profession. It seems to be a little illogical.

It looks as if a certain number of the pharmacists who are members of the Pharmaceutical Society have taken the Minister under their wing, or can it be that the Minister has taken them under his wing? However, at least they have come to a nice arrangement and it looks as if the rights of free association of the others is being set aside. I should much prefer to leave it purely voluntary and thereby encourage the Pharmaceutical Society, which I wish well, to put their house in order and to make their association sufficiently attractive, as we tried to do in the medical profession to encourage members to come in and pay an annual fee. If they can do that, I think it is the proper approach. For us to step in and say: "Stand and deliver" to those who, so far, have shown unwillingness to become members of the Pharmaceutical Society is an interference with the fundamental liberty of the person.

I disagree with Deputy Hogan. Surely the Pharmaceutical Society, down through the years, has had to train, examine, qualify, keep registers of all licentiates, irrespective of whether or not they are members? Is it fair to put the whole burden on those people who are sufficiently interested to become members of a society?

(South Tipperary): The Royal College is the same.

If they have any pride in their craft, they become members. Less than 50 per cent. are members. The Society cannot carry out all that work: it mystifies me how the Society did carry on during recent years, in particular, with scientific training advancing to the extent it did —improved laboratories, more expensive staff, and so on. That burden has been put on the people who voluntarily become members of the Society. No society is finished with its licentiates when they are qualified. It must keep registers. It looks after their interests in life afterwards, irrespective of whether or not they are members.

(South Tipperary): Take, for example, the College of Surgeons, either of Edinburgh or here. They have their licence qualification. They just charge one fee when the man qualifies and there is none afterwards.

Take the Dental Board.

Take the opticians, solicitors.

(South Tipperary): I am taking the Royal College of Physicians, which is pretty close to pharmacy. They charge a fee for licences and after that, there is no fee. They charge a fee for a licence and then the man can go out and practise. If the man afterwards wants to seek a higher qualification, he can take a fellowship, just the same as you have here.

I would have no objection to a society asking for a higher fee from a fellow: he is looking for the higher qualification. The other type of person is looking for the right to live. I would draw that parallel. You can charge anything you like if the applicant wants to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Pharmacists. If he wants that, let him be prepared to pay a good fee annually for it. I believe it is a semi-honorary title and carries certain privileges. However, if he wants the humble right to practise and make his living, is it not sufficient to charge a fee for being registered and to charge the Fellows afterwards? Let them pay an annual fee. The Royal College gives tuition from the first to the sixth or seventh year that it is necessary to qualify a medical man.

I think Deputy Hogan has shut his eyes to a very important fact which Deputy Brady has mentioned, that is that this Society protects pharmacists in their livelihood. To some extent, it is a qualifying body, a professional body, if you like, but it also performs the functions of a trade union, and every trade union expects the members to pay their subscription. I think the Pharmaceutical Society should do likewise. It is not unique: take the opticians, the Dental Board, patents agents and others. All these people have to pay.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again.