Social Audit Ltd
P O Box 111 London NW1 8XG
Telephone/Fax 44 (0)171 586 7771


Mr L Whitbread
Secretary, Committee on Safety of Medicines
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ 20 March 1998

Dear Mr Whitbread,

I am writing with this formal request under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information to ask that you please supply me with single copies of the minutes of all CSM meetings, including all meetings of its sub-committees, held during 1998.

I appreciate there may be some references in these minutes to the licensing of individual drug products, and perhaps also to named individuals, which should be not be disclosed. But may I please formally request that you simply obliterate the relevant bits of text, rather than supply me with retyped extracts of what remains. This will allow to me to establish how much of the Committee's business is typically devoted to secret discussion of licensing matters. I want to know this and believe I am entitled to under the Code, but please let me know if you cannot agree.

Equally, I am anxious to get an indication from the documentation requested of the attention devoted in meetings to questions of policy, finance, image, procedure and other matters not specifically related to licensing of individual drug products. For instance, I shall be interested to see if the CSM has given thought to the implications of the White Paper on Freedom of Information, and to know whether it has considered any of the issues Social Audit has raised about the risks of antidepressant drugs, possible errors of judgement by the MCA and CSM, and questions relating to declarations of interests.

Could you also please send me a list of the scheduled dates and times for CSM (and sub-committee) meetings to be held this year?

Thank you for your attention and I shall look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Charles Medawar



Contents page
List of MCA/CSM Correspondence