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Regulatory Agency

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1 Nine Elms Lane, London SW8 5NQ

 

Mr Medawar
Social Audit Ltd
P.O. Box 111
London NW1 8XG

General enquiries
Telephone 020 7084 20000 

Fax 020 7084 2353

 

Date: 6th November 2006

 

Dear Mr Medawar

REF: FOI 06/321

Thank you for your e-mail of 28 September 2006 and your further e-mail of 9 October, clarifying your request.

Please find enclosed one copy of the report, "MHRA Communications Review: A case for change”, requested in part 1 of your request. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) certain exemptions apply to the information we can make available. Minor redactions have been made on pages 25 and 38 as the information is subject to an exemption contained in the FOIA, namely section 40: Personal Information. We have concluded that disclosing this information would not be appropriate because it would breach rights to personal confidentiality. Appendix F of the report, "Other Agency Communications", has been redacted as the content is subject to the exemptions contained in the FOIA, namely sections 43 and 40. The appendix consists of summaries of interviews with senior staff from communications departments of other agencies acting in the UK healthcare environment to gain insight about the level of resources used and the structure of their departments in order to help inform the development of the MHRA's communications function. We have concluded that disclosing this information would not be appropriate because it would breach commercial interests and rights to personal confidentiality.

One of the major recommendations of the MHRA Communications Review was the creation of a single MHRA Communications Department. The MHRA set up its Communications Division on 1 April 2005 and agreed its first communications strategy in July 2005; this strategy incorporated many of the findings of the Communications Review. I have enclosed a copy of the strategy, "MHRA Communications Strategy Summer 2005-April 2007: an Agency-wide approach to communications", for your information. Since the launch of this strategy, the Agency has made significant progress in communications activities, including the creation of an in-house Press Office, the development and launch of a single unified website and the commission of detailed market research work (as detailed below), to help us understand better the perceptions of our stakeholders. 

In parts 2 and 3 of your request, you have asked for details of major reports and/or evaluations commissioned by the MHRA relating to a range of Agency activities. As some of these reports are relevant to both parts of your request, I have amalgamated my response.

We have included the costs of reports commissioned through General Practice Research Database (GPRD), who are part of our trading fund, for information

The expenditure on such reports and/or evaluations by financial year (1 April - 31 March) is as follows:

2003/04 2004/05 1   2005/06 2    2006/07 (paid or expected)
107,400 61,684  147,848        149,042

We have included the costs of reports commissioned through General Practice Research Database (GPRD), who are part of our trading fund, for information

1 One of the reports was commissioned through Stonehenge Public Relations Ltd as part of a retainer fee; it is therefore not possible to quantify the cost.

2 One of the reports was commissioned through Stonehenge Public Relations Ltd as part of a retainer fee; it is therefore not possible to quantify the cost.

The titles, dates and individuals or organisations from whom the reports and/or evaluations were commissioned are:

Title Date Commissioned Commissioned from Date or expected
date of delivery
MHRA Communications Review: "A case for change" December 2003 Stonehenge Public Relations Ltd April 2004
Evaluation of media activity September 2005 Stonehenge Public Relations Ltd November 2005
MHRA survey of journalists re- MHRA website January 2005 Stonehenge Public Relations Ltd March 2005
Perceptions of the public and healthcare professionsls about Risks, Benefits, Communications and Regulations relating to Medicines and Medical Devices October 2005 Ipsos MORI End 2006
Investigation of the association between SSRIs and suicidality September 2003 General Practice Research Database (GPRD) December 2004
Secular trends in COX2 prescribing March 2006 General Practice Research Database (GPRD) End 2006
Risk of MI with COX 2 inhibitors March 2006 General Practice Research Database (GPRD) End 2006
MHRA public consultation with Patient Representatives: "Medicines Advertising and Information" July 2005 PatientView September 2005
Review of Access to the Yellow Card Scheme July 2003 Dr Jeremy Metters - a Steering Committee was convened April 2004
Research Project in Quantitative signal detection March 2006 Lincoln Technologies End 2006
Pilot promotion of Device incident reporting September 2006 Doctors.net End 2006
       

If you have a query about this letter, please contact me. If you are unhappy with our decision, you may ask for it to be reviewed. That review will be undertaken by a senior member of the Agency who has not previously been involved in your request. If you wish to pursue that option please write to the Communications Directorate, 10th Floor, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, at the above address quoting the above reference. After that, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask the Information Commissioner at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

to make a decision on whether or not we have interpreted the FOIA correctly in withholding information from you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Simon Gregor
Director of Communications

SEE ALSO EDITORIAL NOTE: MHRA COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY (IN A NUTSHELL)

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