Department of Health
Market Towers 1 Nine Elms Lane London SW8 5NQ
Telephone 0171-273 0600
Facsimile 0171- 273 0737 .our ref: OG 99/46
11 October 2000

Dear Mr Medawar,  

Mrs Thyer's letter to you of 28 July contained a partial reply to your request of 30 January for information about the number of occasions on which the MCA has made representations about advertising to licence holders, the identity of the manufacturer/product in each case, and the nature of the complaint for the year 1998/99. I wrote to you on 20 September saying that I would be able to respond to the outstanding requests after I had discussed the issues with colleagues.

As a result of those discussions, including taking account of advice from my legal advisors, I consider that the information you requested concerning the identity of the manufacturer/product, and the nature of the complaint should be withheld under Exemption 4(c) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Exemption 4(c) relates to legal proceedings and exempts "Information relating to legal proceedings or the proceedings of any tribunal, public enquiry or other formal investigation which have been completed or terminated, or relating to investigations which have or might have resulted in proceedings."

The Agency recognises that the regulation of advertisements for medicinal products is an area of legitimate public concern, and we are grateful for your interest. We are currently reviewing our policy on what information we can make public concerning our regulatory activity on advertisements, whilst remaining within the Code.

As you know, if you consider that your request has not been properly handled under the Code or that any information has been unreasonably withheld, you may seek an internal review of my decision. If you remain dissatisfied, you can ask a Member of Parliament to make a complaint on your behalf to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration who may decide to conduct his own investigation.

Yours sincerely
Roy Alder
Head of Executive Support


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List of correspondence with MCA/CSM