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Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge CBE
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane
London SW8 5NQ

6 November 2004


Dear Sir Alasdair,

Thank you for your letter of 4 November. I appreciate your apologies and welcome your decision to withdraw your earlier criticism of Dr Herxheimer’s and my work. The MHRA could indeed have been much more straightforward in its communications with us.

However, it has taken six months and many letters to get this far, and that does very much underline the point of my request under the Code of Practice of Access to Government Information. My letters to you of 29 September and 7 October specifically requested disclosable (if redacted) copies of original documentation, including "all appraisals and analyses of the evidence in our paper, and all notes, memoranda and communications relating thereto", in particular those prepared before 5 May 2004, when the Agency’s assessment of our work was first posted on the MHRA website.

Your most recent letter suggests that the MHRA had delayed commenting on our paper for six months, because of the on-going review of the Yellow Card Scheme – and I’m trying to find out about the Agency’s assessment of our work, during that six month period, that concluded simply that our findings in relation to miscoding and lack of follow-up were "unfounded".

On 4 October, you wrote to me to acknowledge our requests under the Code and undertook to provide a reply within 20 working days. I appreciate the information you and Dr Raine have so far provided, but now repeat my request for copies of all original documentation the MHRA is able to provide. Please could you let me know, as soon as possible, when I might expect to receive this?

Yours sincerely,
Charles Medawar