The Committee of Public Accounts' report into the activities of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been welcomed by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)
In particular, the ABPI concurs with the committee's view that the MHRA has a "good record" in ensuring the safety of medicines coming on to the UK market.
The MPs criticise the quality of many of the information leaflets provided to inform patients about their medicines. The content and appearance of patient information leaflets (PILs) is heavily regulated in all respects, and pharmaceutical companies would like to supplement these formulaic leaflets with additional information about their medicines.
"We readily accept that more and better information could be provided to patients about medicines, but the fact is that the law prevents us from doing this," said Dr Trevor Jones, Director General of the ABPI. "It is high time that patients were allowed to access good quality information about the medicines they have been prescribed."
The committee echoes the National Audit Office's January review of the Medicines Control Agency - which became the MHRA in April - in calling for the agency's profile to be higher with doctors. This view is also supported by the ABPI.
Another NAO criticism was that the agency is entirely funded from pharmaceutical industry fees, and this criticism is also repeated by the committee, which believes it could lead to conflicts of interest. However, the body that reviews applications by companies, the Committee for the Safety of Medicines, is entirely independent. In the light of the increasing range of MHRA activities, the ABPI agrees that 100 per cent funding may no longer be appropriate.
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410