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7 Apr 2005 : Column 1710W—continued

Pharmaceutical Companies

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received in relation to conduct of research involving pharmaceutical companies; and if he will make a statement. [224266]

Miss Melanie Johnson: In the context of the United Kingdom Clinical Research Collaboration, pharmaceutical industry representatives and others have drawn attention to inconsistent local administrative requirements of national health service organisations that can delay clinical research. The UK Clinical Research Collaboration includes a work stream on regulatory and governance issues through which the Department is working with its partners to promote processes which operate more efficiently while continuing to providing effective protection for patients.

Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry also recently submitted evidence to an ad hoc group reviewing the operation of the NHS Research Ethics Committee system.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Department has received a request for information about clinical trials conducted in the NHS for pharmaceutical companies.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list regulatory impact assessments which have included health impact assessments. [224278]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Since November 2004, the Department and the Food Standards Agency have published the following regulatory impact assessments, which include a consideration of the impact on health:

Department of Health:

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Food Standards Agency:

Student Grant Applications

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what evaluation has been made of the performance of the unit processing student grant applications for postgraduate courses in terms of (a) accuracy of information given, (b) quality and speed of responses to telephone calls and (c) quality and speed of responses to written communications. [221597]

Mr. Hutton: The students grant unit (SGU) is now part of the NHS Pensions Agency. It is for the agency to manage and account for the performance of the SGU. The chief executive of the agency informs me that he is aware of the criticisms made of the SGU in the recent past and has highlighted these as key performance indicators for the future. I have asked my officials to raise the SGU's performance at their regular review meetings with the agency.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Public Service Agreement target to increase year on year the proportion of drug users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes has been met thus far. [219241]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The proportion of drug users successfully sustaining or completing treatment programmes fell from 59 per cent. In 2001–02 1 to 57 per cent. In 2002–03 1 , rising to 72 per cent. in 2003–04 2 .


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to ensure that the contents of inks used by tattooists do not contain chemicals at a level which is prejudicial to public health. [222402]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The European Commission division responsible for Consumer Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) has been collecting information on the safety of tattoos and body piercing and related practices via its Joint Research Centre (Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Physical and Chemical Exposure Unit) to establish whether there is a need for specific EU legislation in this area. The Department supports the Council of Europe Resolution advising that tattoo pigments used should comply with the Cosmetics Directive, that is that only permitted colours are used, even though they are not legally covered by that Directive.

The supply of pigments that could cause harm to consumers would be against the law under General Product Safety Regulations 1994.

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