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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The table below shows the number of appeals determined in each jurisdiction in each year and the number of days each jurisdiction sat to hear appeals. The table does not:
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Baroness Amos: As announced yesterday by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, the UK's expenditure on official development assistance (oda) in 1998 is estimated at £2,315 million, representing 0.27 per cent of GNP. This is an increase on the 1997 figure of 0.26 per cent. and reflects the Government's commitment to reverse the decline in UK development assistance. The average oda/GNP ration for all OECD DAC member countries was 0.23 per cent. We will continue our strenuous efforts to also improve the effectiveness of international development programmes.
Under what circumstances a notice, a threat of a notice or a request to cease advertising will be made by Ministers or Medicines Control Agency officials under the Medicines (Advertising and Monitoring of Advertising) Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I.267); and whether the independent panel will have the right to consider whether such a notice, threat of issue of notice or request has been properly issued; and[HL2784]
How, under the new procedures to be adopted by the Medicines Control Agency under the provisions of the Medicines (Advertising and Monitoring of Advertising) Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I.267) they will ensure that justice is not only done but is seen to be done and that the critical precedents needed to ensure consistency in future advertising decisions will routinely be made publicly available; and[HL2785]
Whether pre-publication approval of specific advertisements will be routinely undertaken by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) secretariat; and, if so, how the MCA will avoid pre-approvals by it unduly influencing decisions by the same officials following a complaint after publication of the advertisement on whether that advertisement is in breach of the Medicines (Advertising) Regulations; and[HL2786]
Whether the new procedures to be adopted by the Medicines Control Agency under the provisions of the Medicines (Advertising and Monitoring of Advertising) Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I.267) give a company to whom the agency issues a notice that it is minded to take action the right to a full oral hearing before the independent review panel at which all evidence can be challenged and questioned.[HL2787]
Baroness Hayman: We have clear legal advice that the proposals are compatible with both Community law and the European Convention on Human Rights. To publish the advice itself I would break with the long standing and important principle that legal advice given to Ministers is privileged. This is reflected in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (2nd Edition (1997) paragraph 4(d)), which provides that information covered by legal professional privilege, such as counsel's opinion, is exempt from disclosure under the code.
The issue of notices under the schedule will not be automatic. The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) will continue, as now, to discuss problems with advertising with the company concerned so as to secure acceptable changes. There is no provision for, or purpose in, threatening to issue a notice. The formal procedures will come into play only when informal negotiation fails to reach an appropriate outcome.
The remit of the independent review panel will be to consider written representations from advertisers who have been issued with a notice under paragraph 3 and advise health Ministers on the compatibility of the advertisement in question with the advertising regulations. The panel will not consider the issue of notices or other procedural matters. The amending regulations provide for the making of written representations by the company concerned but do not preclude oral hearings where these are considered appropriate by the Panel. We have no objection to the reports of the review panel meetings being made publicly available. Furthermore, the MCA has already established a working group, the Medicines Advertising
These regulations clarify and strengthen existing procedures in the control of medicines advertising. The MCA undertakes pre-publication assessment of advertising in exceptional circumstances only and has no intention of extending that role. Any opinion given on the suitability of the advertisement for publication is based on the information provided by the company and the current scientific knowledge and is issued without prejudice to any action the MCA may have to take against a future complaint. In the unlikely event that a complaint is received about an advertisement which officials have previously agreed is acceptable for publication the advertisement will be reconsidered taking any new information into account in reaching a decision.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Three herbicide tolerant GM crops are being planted in the farm-scale evaluations: spring oil seed rape, winter oil seed rape and maize. All three have been developed by AgrEvo, a company of Hoechst & Schering.
The spring oil seed rape is being grown under a Part B consent (98/R19/18, issued 22/3/99) and three sites have been sown: Lushill Farm, Hannington, Wiltshire (SU 15 91); Model Farm, Shirburn, Oxon (SU 67 98); and Advanta Seeds UK Ltd, Boothby, Lincs (SK 96 58).
The maize is being grown under a Part C consent (C/F/95/12/07, issued in August 98 by the French Competent Authority). The locations do not therefore need to be made publicly available, but AgrEvo has agreed to do so this year. The locations are Walnut Tree Farm, Lyng, Norfolk; Home Farm, Spitle in the Street, Glentham, Lincolnshire; Little Park Farm, Mortimer, Reading, Berkshire; and Rothamstead Farm, Harpenden, Hertfordshire.
An application under the Plant Varieties Act 1997 was submitted for UK plant breeders rights for the spring oilseed rape, reference number AFP 35/1210 on 12 January 1998. This is still under consideration. No application has been submitted under the Plant Varieties Act 1997 for UK plant breeders rights for the maize variety reference number AFP 51/833.
The necessary pesticide approvals are being considered by Ministers and any approvals granted will be restricted to those essential for the carrying out of the trials.
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