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Complainant Name:
Simon Gregor

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Sunday Express

Complaint:

Simon Gregor of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) complained that an article inaccurately reported that volunteers had suffered side effects during a drug trial at Northwick Park hospital. In fact, the instances of volunteers suffering side effects had occurred in a different trial that had been conducted several years before. The MHRA had been contacted by the newspaper two days before the article appeared and had been asked to answer a series of questions. Although it had agreed to do so, it had asked the newspaper’s reporter what the context was for the inquiry and had been told that there was no particular news story at that time. It was clear that this was not the case. The complainant contacted the newspaper directly to raise his concerns but did not receive any reply.

Resolution:

The newspaper explained that it had, in fact, been contacted by the drug company referred to in the report and had subsequently published the following correction:

On April 13 we published an article which incorrectly claimed that two volunteers were hospitalised after participation in an ongoing clinical trial being run by Parexel International. In fact, we now accept the incidents mentioned related to a significantly different version of the study drug and trials conducted in the USA in 2000 and 2002 by a company unconnected to Parexel. Parexel reports that its present study is running smoothly and without incident.

In addition, the newspaper accepted that it might have been preferable for its reporter to have explained the background to her inquiry when she contacted the MHRA. It also apologised for its failure to respond to the complainant’s direct letter of complaint.

Report: 77



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