Social Audit Ltd
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Mr Roy Alder, Head of Executive Support
Medicines Control Agency
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ

11 June 1999

Dear Mr Alder,

I am enclosing a copy of a letter I have today sent to Dr Jones. Now I am writing to you with a further request for information under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Like the request made in my letter to Dr Jones, this represents an attempt to better understand the MCA's disclosure practices and policies, and why the Agency is positively stomping on such modest rights as I have under the Citizen Charter. The basis of the following request is as described in my letter Dr Jones - ie that the public interest in disclosure overrides all of the exemptions you might otherwise have wanted to rely on.

Please would you let me know whether, in seeking to respond to any of our outstanding information requests, the MCA has within the past six months sought opinions, consents or waivers relating to the release of information, from members of the CSM. If members have been approached by the MCA individually, please may I see a sample copy of any communication sent to them, including any documents either attached or referred to therein, and together with any replies received. If CSM members have been approached collectively, please could you let me know the terms of any requests or propositions put them, indicating when this was done, and what responses have been received and whether any remain unresolved or outstanding.

Down the grapevine, I been hearing all sorts of suggestions that the reason for this impasse in handling our complaints is not that the MCA objects, but that the CSM are being very obstructive. It may just be a load of red herrings, but I'm trying to establish what's what. I'm all the more curious about this because, when out of office, each of the last two Chairmen of the CSM has professed a commitment to greater openness - albeit to no apparent effect. You have already seen that famous letter from Professor Rawlins, but may not have seen the "Call to Glasnost" from his predecessor, which I now enclose. 

Yours sincerely,
Charles Medawar


Contents page
List of correspondence with MCA/CSM