|Department of Health|
|MEDICINES CONTROL AGENCY|
|Market Towers 1 Nine Elms Lane London SW8 5NQ|
|Telephone 0171-273 0600|
|Facsimile 0171- 273 0737||.|
|23 July 1998|
Dear Mr Medawar,
REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION RELATING TO THE COMMITTEE ON SAFETY OF MEDICINES
Thank you for your further letter of 20 July. I am sorry my letter of 14 July appears to have been lost in the post.
The important questions of operational practice to which I referred concern current policy on disclosure of information of confidential advice between Ministers, the MCA and the CSM and whether disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of advice and discussion. The guidance in the Code envisages limited circumstances in which a refusal to disclose expert advice may be justified. The minutes of CSM and the details they contain are marked "not for publication", explicit undertakings of strict confidentiality have been required and given at CSM meetings and members have proceeded on this understanding. It is against this background that we are currently considering your requests. We also note that information supplied in confidence by advisory bodies is one of the specified interests set out in the White Paper at para 3.11. In particular, it refers on page 18 to the need to protect information "given freely on the understanding of confidentiality" and on page 19 to communications "covered by explicit undertakings of confidentiality, or at a least a reasonable expectation that the law of confidentiality applied to them".
I enclose a copy of the dates of CSM meetings for 1998. I regret this was not sent to you earlier. I will reply on your further questions in due course.
|Head of Executive Support|
CLICK HERE TO READ ON