Department of Health
Market Towers 1 Nine Elms Lane London SW8 5NQ
Telephone 0171-273 0600
Facsimile 0171- 273 0737 .our ref: OG 00/05
16 August 2000

Dear Mr Medawar, 

Thank you for your letter of 1 August requesting to know the identities of the co-authors of the paper on Direct to Consumer Advertising (DTCA) which was considered by the Medicines Commission at their February 2000 meeting. I have regarded your letter as a new request under the Code, rather than an internal review, as you had not specifically requested that information in your earlier correspondence.

As I told you earlier, that paper was drafted jointly by a member of the MCA Board and one of the Commissioners, with contributions from another MCA Board Member. The co-authors were Professor Collier and myself, with contributions from Dr Raine. I confirm that Professor Collier and Dr Raine were informed of your request of 1 August and readily agreed that their involvement should be made known. As you had not specifically sought that information before then, there was no earlier approach.

You also asked whether the Medicines Commission had at any time discussed whether this particular paper should be withheld or published. The answer is no. However, at the start of every meeting the Chairman reminds Commissioners that the business and proceedings of the Commission are confidential and not for disclosure to persons or organisations outside the meeting. The Chairman also reminds Commissioners to declare any interests they might have in products and companies under discussion during the meeting. Those reminders are recorded in the minutes of the meetings. As you are aware the Medicines Commission is not within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and is not itself subject to the provisions of the Code. Requests for information about the business of the Medicines Commission are determined by the Agency under the terms of the Code and we might discuss such requests with the Commission if we felt it appropriate.

I am sending a copy of this reply to Mr Richard Walker at the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for information.

Yours sincerely
Roy Alder
Head of Executive Support


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List of correspondence with MCA/CSM