Dear General Pharmaceutical Council,
The Scientology religious cult (which includes the Narconon programme, which purports to cure drug addiction) has been convicted in France of "the illegal practise of pharmacy" (Tribunal de grande instance de Paris - 12ème chambre - du 27 octobre 2009, P9835623114).
The organisation has continued to perform, in the UK, the activities which were found to be illegal in France.
My FOIA query is:
1) Has GPC received any complaints about Scientology, Narconon, or related organisations? If so, please provide details, including internal records and internal and external communications.
2) If so, what action has it taken as a result of those complaints? Please provide details, including internal records and internal and external communications.
Please provide the information in electronic format to me at this email address.
Thank you for your help.
Dear Mr Thackeray
Thank you for contacting the GPhC Freedom of Information team. This is an acknowledgement of your email.
We are now dealing with your request and will aim to send a reply within the 20 working day deadline set within the Act.
Dear Mr Thackeray
Thank you for your request for information below dated 20 June 2012 concerning complaints about Scientology, Narconon or related organisations.
This request is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
We have received one complaint from an individual about Scientology and Narconon. The complainant asked us to investigate the selling and administering of vitamin products by the Church of Scientology in the UK as part of ‘Purification Rundown’ and the Narconon programme.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulatory body for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians (‘registrants’) and registered pharmacies. The GPhC has jurisdiction to consider allegations which indicate that a registrant’s fitness to practise may be impaired. Fitness to practise is when someone has the skills, knowledge, character and health to do their job safely and effectively. A person’s fitness to practise may be impaired for a number of reasons including misconduct, ill-health or through having been convicted of a criminal offence. The GPhC can also take action where protected titles such as ‘pharmacy’ are used inappropriately.
The complaint we received did not include information to suggest that a pharmacist, pharmacy technician or registered pharmacy was involved in the matter or that there had been an inappropriate use of a protected title. As such, we explained that the matter was outside our jurisdiction.
With the complainant’s agreement, we referred the matter to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medicines and medical devices and takes action in respect of unlawful sales of medicines from non-pharmacy premises. The MHRA has since confirmed that, as advised by their Borderline unit, the products mentioned would not be considered medicinal and the claims made would not be considered medicinal claims. The MHRA advised that the Food Standards Agency would be the appropriate body to deal with the matter. We have passed this information to the complainant.
If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by writing to :
Chief Executive & Registrar
Freedom of Information complaint
General Pharmaceutical Council
129 Lambeth Road
London SE1 7BT.
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request you have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Telephone 0303 123 1113
There is no charge for making an appeal.
Thank you for your assistance with this matter.
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