The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) in Britain [renamed in 2003 the Medicines and Health Care products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after the merger of the Medicines Control Agency and the Medical Devices Agency] has the stated aim of safeguarding public health by ensuring that medicines for human use, sold or supplied in the UK, are of an acceptable standard of safety, quality and efficacy; ensuring that medical devices meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and performance; and promoting the safe use of medicines and devices
The MCA/MHRA provides the secretariat for the Committee for the Safety of Medicines (CSM) which gives advice to the Licensing Authority on whether new products (new active substances) submitted to the MCA (now MHRA) should be granted a marketing authorisation.
In the wake of the Forsyth and the Miller cases, it became clear that either the MCA knew everything I knew or they didn’t – in either case there would be a problem. This led to a correspondence between me and them that was later posted on the Social Audit Website. Against a background of public distrust of government statements on health related issues, stemming in part from the BSE and MMR stories, I was concerned that this two years worth of correspondence would contribute to a further erosion of public confidence. This led to an offer to the MCA – I would present some of the material I had and they were free to have who ever experts they wished present and if those experts could persuade me that there was a better way to read the evidence I would publicly apologise for any problems I might have caused by airing my concerns. This led to a much postponed meeting in November 2002.
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