Green light … red light

Compared to the U.S., the level of transparency of drug regulation in Europe is still poor, and even though the U.K. has a Freedom of Information Act coming into force on Jan. 1, the British drug regulators and the pharma industry have agreed that the situation is not going to change a lot.

Under the new law, which was passed in 2000 but is only now being implemented, the public and the media have the right to access information held by public authorities such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). But exemptions apply. These include information about investigations and proceedings conducted by the authorities, or personal and commercial information.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) differentiates between absolute and qualified exemptions. Absolute exemptions

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