HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1445-6W
Charlotte Atkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the management of the Medicines Control Agency and the Medical Devices Agency; and if he will make a statement. [62520]

Mr. Hutton

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has decided to merge the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) and the Medical Devices Agency (MDA), to take effect from 1 April 2003. The regulation of medicines and of medical devices are separate fields, working to different legislation, but as technology develops, there are likely to be growing numbers of products that cross the borderline between medicines and devices. Most other European countries have gone down the path of managing these responsibilities in a single organisation, as has the United States. We want to build on the excellence of both organisations in the protection of public health, and ensure that the new agency is well placed to respond to change and retain the UK's leading position.

The post of Chief Executive will be filled through open competition. The new organisation will also have improved governance arrangements, with non-executive members on the board and a new post of Chairman, who we expect to be an authoritative figure able not only to Chair the board and oversee its work but also to represent the organisation and its decisions in public.

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