§ Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on(a) the present and (b) the expected future relationship between his Department and the medicines control agency; and what staff have been seconded to the agency from his Department.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) is an agency within the Department of Health (DH). It took over the functions and staff (medical, pharmaceutical, and administrative) of the former medicines division of DH. A single director was appointed, after advertisement and competition, from outside the civil service. The director is reorganising MCA in pursuit of greater effectiveness and efficiency in decisions about the licensing of medicines. The present priority is to implement and exploit these changes. Further change would be considered in the light of experience of the operation of the new organisation.