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Patient information high on MHRA agenda

Published on 22/08/07 at 03:15pm

The MHRA has launched a wide-ranging consultation on its future direction, and improving information for patients is a key topic up for discussion.

The regulator said it must keep up with a changing environment and acknowledged public attitudes were changing from deference to expectations of openness and accountability.

It noted: "Patients and the public expect to be able to access information about products used in their healthcare  how they work, what benefit they can expect, and what risks are associated with their use."

The industry has long argued that the availability of medical information on the internet - often of dubious use - renders outdated the current UK bar on pharma providing patients with information about their products.

US-style, direct-to-consumer advertising remains firmly off the agenda and the MHRA took the opportunity of the consultation to restate its objections to the practice.

The regulator is seeking views from the pharma industry, patient groups and doctors for the consultation, which will feed into its five-year plan, due to be published by April 2008.

The consultation will focus on four areas in total:

* Ensuring healthcare professionals and the public have the right information and improving understanding of the MHRA's role

* Safeguarding public health and monitoring product safety

* Developing better ways of involving the public in risk-benefit decisions

*The MHRA's contribution to science, research and innovation

The Challenges And Priorities For The Next Five Years public consultation will run until 2 November and further details can be found on the MHRA's website


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