While I’m thinking about the MHRA, here’s something else I want to share with you. The MHRA is not funded by the taxpayers of the UK – rather, it is entirely funded by the Pharmaceutical industry – it takes fees from those it regulates. However, unlike many regulators, it competes with other European agencies for fee income.
The links between industry and the MHRA are very, very close.
Dr Ian Hudson is the MHRA’s Director of Licensing – but the job he had before he joined the agency was at GlaxoSmithKline – he was their Worldwide Director of Safety, and we know that one of the drugs he had “significant involvement with” was, in fact, Seroxat. (Also, the Chairman of the MHRA, Professor Alasdair Breckenridge, sat on Glaxo’s scientific advisory committee for many years.)
The strange thing is that on the day the House of Commons Health Select Committee wanted to hear evidence from the MHRA specifically about Seroxat trial data and safety, Professor Alaisdair Breckenridge (MHRA Chairman), Professor Kent Woods (MHRA CEO) and June Raine (MHRA Director of Vigilence and Risk Management) all managed to attend the hearing.
MPs had expected to be able to question Ian Hudson as well… unfortunately Dr Hudson could not attend as he had a prior engagement.
You can read the transcript of that session here – scroll down to question 783.