New arrangements for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7497.917 (Published 21 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:917
  1. Joe Collier, professor of medicines policy (jcollier@sghms.ac.uk)
  1. St George's, University of London, London SW17 0RE

    Offer lay involvement, fewer competing interests, and better decision making

    Major changes are occurring at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and these hold promise for real advance. The events of the last weeks and months give important insights into the changes now underway.

    On 5 April the House of Commons health select committee in its report on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry found that the agency was complacent, lacking the competence to act as a licensing authority. It recommended that the agency be subject to an independent review. On 7 April, government laid before parliament the Medicines (Advisory Bodies) Regulations,1 presaging the abolition of the agency's two key advisory bodies—the Medicines Commission and the Committee on the Safety of Medicines—both essentially unchanged since the early 1970s. On 13 April the national press carried advertisements inviting senior professionals and representatives of patients and consumers to fill posts in the new system.

    To these recent events one must add …

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