HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 cc1021-2W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many representations have been made by(a) the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency between April 2003 and 2004 and (b) the Medicines Control Agency for each year between 1997 and 2003 to internet service providers regarding websites (i) in breach of the law on the sale of unlicensed medicines via the internet and (ii) providing medicines without adequate patient consultations; and if he will list the websites in each case. [167806]

Ms Rosie Winterton

During the period 2003 to 2004, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made one representation to an internet service provider (ISP) involving the supply of unlicensed medicines via the internet without a United Kingdom registered medical practitioner's prescription. Initially compliance was achieved. However, the site is once again operating and is the subject of a new criminal investigation. Disclosure of the name of the site during the investigation could be prejudicial to any future prosecution action, and exemption four of the open government code of practice therefore applies.

During the period 1997 to 2003, the Medicines Control Agency (MCA made six representations to ISPs involving the supply of both licensed and unlicensed medicines via the internet. All six representations related to a study (by the MCA enforcement unit) in 1999. The specific details of individual sites have not been retained following their closure.