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


Mr. Peter Dunlevy,  Executive Support
Medicines Control Agency
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ 26 March 1998

Dear Mr. Dunlevy,

Thank you for your letter of 19th March, ref: OG 98/18. I confirm we will pay your reasonable charges, and I am sorry about any extra work this involves. However, I hadn't anticipated this, so perhaps I need to clarify the request and the reason for spelling it out as I did in my letter to Mr. Alder of 7 March. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding, given that I simply want to know what definition(s) the MCA relies on, but you are now saying it might take hours to collect the information needed for reply.

In a perfect world, I imagine the MCA would rely on a single definition of commercial confidentiality, and would be entirely consistent in its use of guidance and explanatory memoranda to staff - and in these circumstances, all I would want would be a single copy of the definition and the guidance used, plus confirmation that it applied in all documentation. However, past experience suggests there is considerable uncertainty about this definition and some variation in the interpretations used: hence the wording of my request. I certainly don't want to be supplied with a list of extracts from numerous documents, all of which say essentially the same thing. Nor would I think it cool to have to pay for the MCA to check on the consistency of its definitions and interpretations - though, depending on the charge, it would certainly be worth establishing that there were inconsistencies when there should be none.

I hope this clarifies the situation, but please feel free to call if any uncertainties or possible problems remain.

Yours sincerely,  

Charles Medawar


Contents page
List of MCA/CSM Correspondence