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Lord Donoughue: The arrangements to enable member states to report serious human suspected adverse reactions (SARs) to the EMEA strictly in accordance with the terms of Article 42f of Directive 93/40/EEC are not yet in place. Nonetheless, serious human and animal SARs are reported to the Pharmacovigilance Working Party of the Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products of the EMEA. The UK has also provided the EU Commission with data on human SARs to organophosphorus (OP) sheep dip which was co-ordinated through the Pharmacovigilance Working Party of the EMEA.
Lord Donoughue: There is a range of actions that may be necessary depending on the circumstances of the case, and it is essential that expert judgment is used in assessing the importance of trends in serious suspected adverse reactions. It would not be appropriate to set a definite figure, which could discourage early action.
Lord Donoughue: All reports of suspected adverse reactions (SARs) to veterinary medicinal products are taken in to account by the Suspected Adverse Reactions Surveillance Scheme (SARSS) of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Although, as Professor Lawson's report indicated, self-reporting may lead to a lack of objectivity, individuals are not discouraged from reporting. Indeed, we actively encourage reporting by supplying report forms to veterinary practices, pharmacies and agricultural merchants and saddlers for use by their clients and to farming organisations. Anyone suffering a suspected adverse reaction is strongly advised to consult their doctor before reporting the incident to the SARSS.
Lord Donoughue: It is not that sheep dip containers are defective. However, some designs have been in use for a long period and it may be possible to improve them, given currently available materials and knowledge. This possibility has been discussed with manufacturers' representatives, and a number of them are looking at ways in which the design of containers might be improved to reduce the risk of spillage and to increase the accuracy of measurement. In addition, the Health and Safety Laboratory is conducting research into new methods of transferring dip concentrate to the dip bath.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Production equipment and technology, components and sub-assemblies whose export from the UK is subject to control are set out under a range of headings in the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, as amended, the Dual-Use & Related Goods (Export Control) Regulations 1996, as amended, and Council Decision 94/942/CFSP, as amended (which has effect through Council Regulation (EC) 3381/94). While a valid export licence is needed for the export of controlled goods or technology, exporters are not
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The MRC mission continues to be: to promote and support by any means high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related postgraduate training in the biomedical and other sciences with the aim of maintaining and improving human health.
It is not the MRC's policy to fund only large multicentre research projects. The range of new research grants introduced by MRC in 1997 provides a variety of forms of support for response mode funding for research in universities. The combination of centre, co-operative group, programme, innovation, strategic project and new career establishment grants should provide sources of funding to suit scientists at different career stages.
The Co-operative Group Grant scheme in particular allows individual scientists to apply for funds on a small scale to work on their own project within a group where there are shared interests and facilities. Some 48 co-operative groups have already been established, widely spread geographically, and more are planned. The MRC has also modified its long-standing Programme Grant scheme to permit smaller scale resources than have hitherto been available.
MRC is monitoring closely the impact of the new schemes to ensure that they are operating effectively and that an appropriate balance is maintained between providing long term stability for research and new opportunities for young researchers.
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