Outrageous behaviour by the MHRA – 2

Follow this link to see the reply that Bob Fiddaman has sent to the MHRA, following their outrageous and clumsy attempt to use copyright laws to stop us sharing information with you.

It was a stupid attempt to gag a member of the public that demonstrates the massive gap between reality and spin that exists at the MHRA. To illustrate this I include details below of the MHRA Communications Strategy (Summer 2005 – April 2007) taken from internal documents:

Get going – build infrastructure and internal awareness
Get known – increase recognition and differentiation from other organisations
Get out there – ensuring that the information we deliver is widely available
and readily accessible
Get listening– ensure that communication is genuinely two-way
Get trusted – continue to do all of this consistently, no matter how hard it may be on any given issue.

The Agency’s current mission statement is: “To enhance and safeguard the public’s health by ensuring that medicines and medical devices meet the required standards of safety and effectiveness in use”.

The Agency recognises that it can only fully succeed in enhancing and safeguarding health if it ensures that high quality, timely and accurate information is widely available to inform decisions about the use of medicines and medical devices.

Improving communications is therefore “mission critical” for the Agency.

The current business and corporate plans reflect the high priority which the Agency is giving to developing its communications in support of this mission, including an explicit objective in this year’s business plan: “Engage proactively with the public and healthcare professionals, in particular promoting understanding of risk and drawing attention to the dangers of Internet sales, positioning this work in the development and agreement by July 2005 of a wider two-year communications strategy containing actions that will be completed by March 2006.”

The aim of MHRA Communications activity over the period up to 1st April 2007 is therefore:

To ensure that the MHRA’s work in promoting and protecting public health is recognised, by demonstrating how we regulate effectively and by making trusted information available, effectively and promptly

Fine words, no doubt written by the MHRA’s marketing supremo, Simon Gregor. It’s a shame that the reality of the Agency is so far from his ‘utopian’ vision.

In passing, you might wonder why, what is ostensibly a part of the Civil Service, needs to have a ‘Mission Statement’ and ‘Values’ and ‘Vision’ and ‘Aims’ like this – it’s the MHRA after all – not a business like… GlaxoSmithKline, for example.

…ensuring that the information we deliver is widely available and readily accessible…

Unless that information is contained in a reply to a member of the public who asked questions under the Freedom Of Information Act, eh? In which case they’ll add at the bottom of the letter:

“Copyright notice
The information supplied in response to your request is the copyright of MHRA and/or a third party or parties, and has been supplied for your personal use only. You may not sell, resell or otherwise use any information provided without prior agreement from the copyright holder.”

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