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House of Lords Hansard
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Medical Toxicology Unit And Agrochemical Companies
15 January 2001
Volume 620
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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they consider that the employment in the outpatients department of the Medical Toxicology Unit (formerly the National Poisons Unit) of a clinical consultant who is also employed by the agrochemical company Syngenta (formerly Zeneca) might lead to a potential conflict of interest in view of the role of the MTU in the collection of data relating to pesticide poisoning incidents. [HL66]

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The Medical Toxicology Unit, as part of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust, requires all consultant staff to adhere to the trust's policies on disclosure of interest and additional earnings. As a general rule this requires staff to register any other paid employment. It is the trust's view that this covers situations where consultants who hold part-time positions within the trust work for other employers during the time when they are not employed by the trust.

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What employment contracts, consultancies (whole or part-time) or liaison arrangements have existed between the agrochemical companies Zeneca and Novartis or their predecessors and the Medical Toxicology Unit (formerly the National Poisons Unit) since 1990; and how many of these arrangements are current. [HL67]

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There are no employment contracts or consultancies between the Medical Toxicology Unit and the agrochemical companies Zeneca and Novartis or their predecessors. The Medical Toxicology Unit has received funding from Zeneca to maintain a database on the incidence of paraquat poisoning in the United Kingdom. This project was originally set up in 1980 at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Medical Toxicology Unit has also received funding from Zeneca in 2000 towards the establishment of a specialist registrar position in medical toxicology with an emphasis on agrochemical toxicology and product safety.

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether Ethics Committee approval was necessary for any joint staffing arrangements between the Medical Toxicology Unit (formerly the National Poisons Unit) and agrochemical companies. [HL68]

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There are no joint staffing arrangements between the Medical Toxicology Unit and agrochemical companies. All staff are required to adhere to the trust's policies on disclosure of interest and additional earnings.

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether any members of staff employed by the Medical Toxicology Unit (formerly the National Poisons Unit) have a formal qualification in crop protection science or have published research in pesticide-related science; and, if so, who they are. [HL91]Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The consultant grade scientist who is the manager of the National Poisons Information Service (London centre), which is part of the Medical Toxicology Unit, was awarded a post-graduate diploma in crop protection from Harper Adams Agricultural College.

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January 19991011131112
February119121
March86311
April9123132
May7211281
June613228
July915328
August81549
September11111
October11211
November91211610
December8182919
January 2000111655
February11118331
March133224517
April14122611
May172222511
June1523168
July1512057

Publications on organophosphate pesticide related science/disease by the Medical Toxicology Unit staff have appeared in the following journals:

  • Human and Experimental Toxicology,
  • Human Toxicology,
  • New England Journal of Medicine,
  • British Journal of Anaesthesia,
  • Anaesthesia, and
  • Public Health British Medical Journal.