HC Deb 20 November 2000 vol 357 c54W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress his Department has made in examining the need to review section 118 of the Medicines Act 1968; and if he will make a statement. [138872]

Ms Stuart

Section 118 of the Medicines Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation that the Government are currently reviewing to see whether or not it is appropriate to repeal them, once new freedom of information legislation is in place, and a final decision has still to be made.

Section 118 does not place an absolute restriction on the disclosure of information. The Medicines Control Agency, as the executive arm of the licensing authority, acts on the basis that section 118 allows it to disclose information where to do so is in the performance of its duty to protect public health. Therefore, where there is a risk to public health or safety, the agency has an overriding obligation to remove or reduce that risk even if confidentiality is broken. The agency also complies with the current administrative Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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