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Freedom of Information Request to Department of Health
 
Exile Views: 2,308
Published: 16 years ago
 

Freedom of Information Request to Department of Health


Hi,

A wee while ago I put in a freedom of information request to the UK Department of Health for information on any research projects on, or documents relating to colloidal/ionic silver. Although there aren't any projects specifically carrying out research on CS there is information on products containing silver in different forms which is quite interesting (especially BioCote & Argentum Biotech) & answers to parliamentary questions on CS. I attach the information received for anyone who might be interested:

Exile



Dear Mr *********,

I am sorry to learn that part of the email message replying to your recent
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act was missing.

I have accordingly copied the full text of the message you should have
received, and this appears below. Please do not hesitate to contact me if
you have any queries about this response.

Yours sincerely



Colin McDonald
Customer Service Centre
Ext RH 5357


DE00032231 (FOI ? 13 October 2005)




Dear Mr ********

I am writing to confirm that the Department has now completed its search
for the information which you requested on 14 September.

The Department has received 7 enquiries and answered 2 Parliamentary
Questions on the use of Colloidal Silver , ionic silver or other silver
products. Extracts from the replies to these enquiries and copies of the
Parliamentary Questions are attached. (see below - extracts of
correspondence, etc. CMc.)

The Thames Valley University, commissioned by the Department of Health, has
updated our national guidelines1 on infection control recommendations on
the use of short-to-medium term indwelling urethral catheters, including
those coated with silver alloy.

The Rapid Review Panel (RRP), convened by the Health Protection Agency at
the request of the Department of Health, provides an assessment of new and
novel equipment, materials, and other products or protocols that may be of
value to the NHS in improving hospital infection control and reducing
hospital acquired infections.

The Panel has looked at the following products. Full reports, minutes and
recommendations can be found at
http://www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/rapid_review/reports.htm
- silver colloid coated catheters (Bard)
- silver impregnated coverings from two companies (BioCote and Argentum
Biotech ? Biocote produce a wide range of materials containing silver ions
as an antimicrobial agent)
- a solubised chitosan silver complex in cosmetic moisturising gel for
use on skin (Silver Angel)
- residual anti-bacterial and anti-fungal solutions (Argentum Biotech)

There are no relevant completed or ongoing research projects funded by the
Department of Health. The Department does not hold information on research
projects funded via the National Health Service.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder. Most documents supplied by
the Department of Health will have been produced by government officials
and will be Crown Copyright. You can find details on the arrangements for
re-using Crown Copyright on HMSOnline at:

http://www.hmso.gov.uk/copyright/licences/click-use-home.htm

Information you receive which is not subject to Crown Copyright continues
to be protected by the copyright of the person, or organisation, from which
the information originated. You must ensure that you gain their permission
before reproducing any third party (non Crown Copyright) information.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision,
you should write to:

Jill Moorcroft
Freedom of Information Unit
Department of Health
Room 360c
Skipton House
80 London Road
SE1 6LH
Email: jill.moorcroft@dh.gsi.gov.uk

If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure
provided by the Department. The Information Commissioner can be contacted
at:

The Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely



Colin McDonald
Customer Service Centre

1 The epic project. Updating the evidence-base for national evidence-based
guidelines for preventing healthcare associated infections in NHS hospitals
in England: a report with recommendations. British Journal of Infection
Control DECEMBER 2004 VOL 5 NO.6 Pellowe CM, Pratt RJ, Loveday HP, Harper
P, Robinson M, Hones SRLJ

Extracts of correspondence
1. 8 March 2003 (DE1015506)
Thank you for your e-mail of Thursday 13 February 2003 regarding the
effects that colloidal silver has against MRSA. I have been asked to
reply.

We are unaware of any peer-reviewed studies or ongoing research relating to
the use of Colloidal Silver in the treatment of MRSA.

We understand that several websites set up by US companies advocate the use
of Colloidal Silver for the treatment of many diseases such as HIV, AIDs,
cancer, tuberculosis etc but the evidence is not conclusive. You may be
interested in a US Food and Drug Administration talk paper published in
August 1999. This stated that all over-the-counter drug products
containing colloidal silver or silver salts are not recognised as safe and
effective. This information can be found at
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/ANSWERS/ANS00971.html.

You may also be interested in an article by Dr Stephen Barrett "Colloidal
Silver: Risk Without Benefit" at
http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopicss/PhonyAds/silvera...

2. 21 January 2004 (TO1045052)
We are aware that silver was used to treat infections in the 1930s but this
decreased once Antibiotics were available and due to its toxicity, it
causes argyria. Silver does have medical benefits for example in the use
of topical silver sulphadiagins or silver alloy coated catheters but there
is a lack of evidence for the use of colloidal silver.

You may be interested to know that the US Food and Drug Administration
published a talk paper in 1999 stating that over the counter drug products
containing colloidal silver or silver salts are not recognised as safe and
effective.

3. March 2004 (CMO R81/2003)
Any substance that claims to treat or prevent disease must be licensed by
the UK Licensing Authority (the Medicines and Healthcare products
Regulatory Authority (MHRA)) or be licensed for use in the UK by the
European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA).

I understand from the MHRA that colloidal silver does not have a licence as
a medicinal product. All requests for such licences must meet stringent
requirements of quality, safety and efficacy. Similarly if any organisation
wished to undertake a clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of
colloidal silver as an anti-infective, the MHRA would need to consider a
formal clinical trials application.

It is not clear if the use of colloidal silver in the environment is being
proposed. Any products that claim effectiveness against MRSA, would need
careful consideration by Trusts to establish the evidence that it prevents
infection and has no adverse effects on patients. It is to help the NHS
make such assessments that we are developing a rapid review process to
assess new procedures and products for which claims of effectiveness are
made for their ability to prevent or control Healthcare associated
infections.

4. July 2004 (PO1052206)
As you know, we are keen to encourage good practice and reduce the rate of
catheter associated urinary tract infections. The decision on using these
new products is made locally and the NHS does not need an endorsement from
the Purchasing and Supplies Agency (PASA) to procure them. However, I
understand that PASA has had initial discussions with the manufacturer of
these catheters about the options for purchasing and supply.

Introducing a new product such as these catheters needs careful
consideration by Trusts to establish the evidence that it prevents
infection. It is to help the NHS make such assessments that we are
developing a rapid review process to assess new procedures and products for
which claims of effectiveness are made for their ability to prevent or
control HCAIs. This is part of our new approach to tackling healthcare
associated infections, "Winning Ways ? Working together to reduce
Healthcare Associated Infection in England". We expect this new review
process to start later this year and we will contact the catheter
manufacturer when it is operational.

You may also be interested to know that we have commissioned Thames Valley
University to update the national guidelines on infection control and a
report is expected in August. This will include recommendations for
preventing hospital acquired infections associated with the use of
short-to-medium term indwelling urethral catheters, including those coated
with silver alloy.


5. July 2004 (PO5000431)
Colloidal silver was used to treat infections in the 1930s but this
practice decreased once Antibiotics were available as colloidal silver
causes argyria (discolouration of the skin). The scientific consensus does
not support the widespread use of colloidal silver. For instance, the US
Food and Drug Administration published a talk paper in 1999 stating that
over the counter drug products containing colloidal silver or silver salts
are not recognised as safe and effective.

6. July 2004 (PO5000773)
Mr X raised the issue of colloidal silver. It was used to treat infections
in the 1930s but this practice decreased once Antibiotics were available as
colloidal silver causes argyria (discolouration of the skin). We are not
aware of any good evidence that colloidal silver products are of benefit in
treating MRSA and the scientific consensus does not support its widespread
use. For instance, the US Food and Drug Administration published a talk
paper in 1999 stating that over the counter drug products containing
colloidal silver or silver salts are not recognised as safe and effective.

7. July 2004 (R39/2004)
The point on urinary catheters is already good practice but we have
commissioned Thames Valley University to update the national guidelines1 on
infection control and a report is expected in August. This will include
recommendations for preventing hospital acquired infections associated with
the use of urethral catheters, including those coated with silver alloy.

1The epic project: developing national evidence-based guidelines for
preventing healthcare association infections phase 1: guidelines for
preventing hospital-acquired infections J Hosp Infect; 2001, 47(suppl)
S3-S82

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Record of e-mail

Subject "silver"

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Some suggestions -use or delete as you see fit; original
version was
accurate in my opinion, except for US spelling of grey (gray)!


Parliamentary Questions

PQ1035
ANDREW LANSLEY MP what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of
colloidal silver as a treatment for MRSA and other hospital-acquired
infections.

Reply

We are not aware of any peer reviewed, or systematic, clinical trial
evidence that colloidal silver is an
effective treatment for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
or other hospital acquired infections. Colloidal silver has antibacterial
properties but it is not used as an alternative to antibiotics because of
its toxicity.

Background Note

Silver was used to treat infections in the 1930s but this stopped once
antibiotics were available because using silver can lead to argyria. This
is a condition in which silver salts deposit in the skin, eyes and internal
organs and the skin turns ashen grey.

Colloidal silver is a suspension of small silver particles in a liquid
medium. It is advertised on a number of websites, mainly aimed at the US
market (but also the UK, e.g.
http://nkarande.users.btopenworld.com/homepage.htm) with unsubstantiated
claims for its value as a dietary supplement
and treatment for many diseases including HIV and cancer. Many make wholly
erroneous assertions that silver is a 'natural antibiotic' that somehow
'escapes all resistance' and is 'non-toxic'; in reality silver is a toxic
heavy metal to which bacteria can become resistant. The US Food and
Drug Administration published a talk paper in 1999 stating that over the
counter drug products containing colloidal silver or silver salts are not
recognised as safe and effective.

? surely immaterial if one can buy across the web!

Silver does have medical benefits e.g. in bandages (acting as an
antibacterial and perhaps to stimulate healing) or silver alloy coated
catheters but we are not aware of any good evidence that colloidal silver,
especially if taken internally,
is a viable, safe or efficacious alternative or adjunct against MRSA or
other hospital acquired infections.







Hansard replies to 2 Parliamentary Questions


12 Jul 2005 : Column 981W


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she
has made of colloidal silver as a treatment for (a) MRSA and (b) other
hospital acquired infections; and what research she has commissioned into
its use. [9516]


Jane Kennedy: Although colloidal silver has antibacterial properties for
treating meticillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other
hospital acquired infections it is not used as an alternative to
antibiotics because of its toxicity when taken internally. We are not aware
of any relevant studies on its efficacy.





15 Jan 2004 : Column 848W


Colloidal Silver


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he
has made of the effectiveness of colloidal silver as a treatment for MRSA
and other hospital-acquired infections. [146718]


Miss Melanie Johnson: We are not aware of any peer-reviewed or clinical
trial evidence that colloidal silver is an effective treatment for
methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or other
hospital-acquired infections. Colloidal silver has antibacterial
properties, but it is not used as an alternative to antibiotics because of
its toxicity when taken internally.




 

 
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