Friday, 19 October 2007

Freedom of Information: Under-resourced watchdog swamped by complaints‏

I thought I might just follow the logical course of action and take my complaint to the ICO. I'm not expecting anything to be done about it: the ICO doesn't look like a very powerful body, to my eye:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Further to Robert Verkaik's piece in today's Indy, I would like to make a formal complaint about the MHRA's decision to dismiss my enquiries concerning its regulatory [in]activity. I object to it characterizing my enquiries as concerning Seroxat, specifically, when Seroxat, although a good case in point, was only that: a case study:

Matthew Holford Final Report

It is my contention that the MHRA operates a culture of blind eye, which permits a course of conduct that leads, ultimately, to the licensing of drugs that are both dangerous and inefficacious. Specifically, that it permits drug companies to withhold original data; that it does not insist on data from failed trials being submitted with the licence application portfolio; that it seemingly considers only the drug companies' (positive) opinion of its products, when licensing, thus rendering its own risk:benefit assessment procedures meaningless; that it places undue faith in the opinions of academics who are regularly shown to be conflicted; that its patient reporting system gives little weight to patient experience, which permits it to leave drugs on the market, in spite of the flags being raised; and that it ignores the warning signs that are present in the regular legal actions brought by class action and states, in the US, which allege dubious marketing and suppression of information concerning side effects.

This represents a chain of causation that leads to drugs with dubious risk profiles remaining on the market, I would argue. And you may rest assured that I am incandescent that the MHRA chose to dismiss my complaint, and to brand me vexatious, presumably as a means of avoiding scrutiny of its activities. I would be grateful if the ICO would rule on this, and ultimately order the MHRA to respond to my queries, particularly that concerning the question "what is the benefit of Seroxat?"

Best regards

Matthew Holford

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