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Scientific Advisory Committees

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given to members of his Department's scientific advisory committees on taking into account all studies and data submitted in support of applications for novel foods, medicines and veterinary medicines and data on the safety of additives, contaminants and potentially harmful organisms before providing advice to Ministers. (206910)

[holding answer 22 May 2008]: To ensure that the advice they provide to Ministers is informed by a robust appraisal of the available evidence, all of the Department's scientific advisory committees work according to the Government Chief Scientific Adviser's Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees. The Code of Practice is available at: www.dius.gov.uk/publications.html. In addition, members of the Department's scientific advisory committees are directed to relevant good practice guidelines and statutory requirements.

The scientific advisory committees that consider applications for novel foods and data on the safety of additives, contaminants and potentially harmful organisms, have developed a set of good practice guidelines in conjunction with the Chief Scientist of the Food Standards Agency, which cover the gathering and interpretation of scientific data and presentation of advice. The Good Practice Guidelines are available at:

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/goodpracticeguide.pdf.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency ensure that all new members of scientific advisory committees are given appropriate introductory training on the scientific and legal basis of evaluation and assessment of applications for a marketing authorisation of a medicinal product, based on statutory requirements as set out in appropriate legislation.