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


Mrs. A Thyer, Executive Support
Medicines Control Agency
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ

2 August 2000

Dear Mrs Thyer,

Thank you for your letter of 28 July (Ref OG 99/46) responding to the questions I asked about the MCA advertising control system and other matters, in my letter to Mr Alder of 30th January. I appreciate the work you put into this and I'm sure Mr Bagwell will too.

The information you gave about the MCA advertising unit was of particular interest. For reasons that will be clear from our evidence to the European Commission, it does concern us that the four administrative staff in this unit provide this nation's first line of defence against the possible onslaught of DTCA. They will need all the help they can get; I shall give as much as I can.

If the MCA does not already have a record of the nature of the advertising complaints it has investigated, I withdraw my request for it. It is almost enough to know that it doesn't exist. However, my request that the MCA identifies the manufacturer and product in each case still stands. I assume you would also want to indicate in each case whether or not the complaint was upheld and to report briefly on the outcome. This is such basic information, I cannot imagine the MCA would want to bill us for compiling it, but I confirm that we would pay all reasonable charges if that's what it took. I look forward to hearing from you about this by the end of September.

I cannot yet comment on the other issues discussed in your letter but may in due course. In the meantime, I am happy to accept your apologies for the long delay. I am quite sure the fault is systemic and, because I want to persuade the Ombudsman of this, I will take advantage of the option proposed at the end of your letter. I shall refer your letter simply as evidence of context, to support our main complaint. It doesn't take an investigation cum adjudication to establish that six months is far too long to wait for basic information. The question now is why does this happen and how can it be avoided?

Thank you again for the trouble you took in responding to this request.

Yours sincerely,
Charles Medawar


Contents page
List of correspondence with MCA/CSM