Transparency 7: Assistant Director, Secretary and Offers Services
In the transparency V we listed the main 20 causes that produce lack of transparency in Public Administrations.
While in the transparency VI we published a case about the practice of a position which had not been published neither appointed. Despite of having requested information to the affected administrative organ, after 30 days we have not received any answer.
In this blog we are publishing another example which adjusts itself to another cause that produce lack of transparency: an assistant director of the Spanish Agency of the Medicine, who also practises as secretary of the commission for evaluation of medicines for veterinarian use and director of a laboratory which offers services to elaborate reports and studies necessary to pass the questionnaire of the commission (where she is the secretary) and obtain the approval of the Assistant Direction where she is holder. Therefore the customer and the administered are the same person as well as the advisor and the regulator are also the same person causing lack of transparency in decisions of the regulator organ.
The facts are the following:
1. From 2000 to 2006, she practised as General Assistant Director of medicines for veterinarian use of the Spanish Agency of the Medicine (Margarita Arboix’s appointment has never been published in any Official Bulletin of the Estate, see document #1).
2. Simultaneously, she practised as secretary of the Committee for evaluation of Medicines of veterinarian use of the Spanish Agency of the Medicine (her official appointment as vocal was published on October 11th 1999, BOE nº 250, see document #2).
3. Apart from these 2 positions, Margarita Arboix practices as director of SERAF. This entity offers, through its webpage, the following services: validation of analytic methods, realization of studies of bioequivalence and studies of bioavailability, veterinarian pharmaceutical formulations of veterinarian use and assessment about necessary studies for the registration of veterinarian pharmaceutical formulations. See document 3
To sum up, Margarita Arboix offers to veterinarian laboratories, through SERAF, the service of the necessary studies to accomplish with the registration or renewal procedures in the CODEMVET (where she practices as secretary) which belongs to the Spanish Agency of the Medicine (where she practices as General Assistant Director).
In Veterinaria Digital we have some documents which prove that everything mentioned above was carried out with a list of several customers (all of the laboratories are Spanish) of SERAF as well as a precise offer dated in December 2001 (while Margarita Arboix was practising there as Assistant Director of the Spanish Agency of the Medicine and responsible of SERAF) for the total amount of 9.113.880 pesetas (which is equal to 54.683 €) for the realization of a study about oxitetracycline with the aim of validating the veterinary registration.
These documents are at your disposition if you request them, have been provided as proofs for the reports presented at the Competence Court and the public prosecutor’s office, and they will be published soon in Veterinaria Digital for yours and other media’s knowledge.
Finally we would like to mention that this situation was informed to the Health and Agriculture Ministries and an internal investigation was requested. We never obtained a clear response by these Ministries apart from transferring the information to the agency involved which does not seem very proper to clarify the situation. Furthermore we never received any news about some internal investigation carried out.
All these documents permit us to formulate the following questions:
1. Why did not the higher positions over the Assistant Direction of the Health and Agriculture Ministries react to the reported denounce, limiting themselves to transfer it to the denunciated people?
2. Why did many Spanish laboratories request SERAF’s services, as we can see in its webpage or they did not deny they were its customers?
3. Does any control exist by the university center, where SERAF belongs to, over the contracts signed and incomes received?
4. Are there any invoices issued by SERAF to its customers, who at the same time requested some procedures to the Assistant Direction of the Medicine for veterinarian use of the Spanish Agency of the Medicine?
5. Does it exist any link between the number of studies requested to SERAF and the number of files approved in Codemvet and Assistant Direction of Medicine for veterinarian use during the period 2000-2006?
6. Does it exist any illicit enrichment by one or more people?
From Veterinaria Digital we are waiting for some people who feel affected or are involved in the case we have reported, supply further information which will be kindly published.
We remind you that in the Transparency VI we already mentioned that Margarita Arboix had been practicing her position during 6 years without being published neither her appointment nor her cease, as legislation states in the Official Bulletin of the Spanish State (BOE).