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Notice given 12 September 2002

627  Senator Greig: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) (a) Is the Minister aware of a Dutch report regarding a man who developed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) 38 years after receiving human-derived growth hormone (hGH); and (b) given that the 47-year-old Dutch man, who died from iatrogenic CJD 38 years after treatment, was given only one low dose of hGH as part of a diagnostic procedure rather than being given full treatment: does the Minister intend any further action warning Australians who were given low doses of hGH.

(2) With reference to the fact that, when this patient was 9 years old, a nitrogen retention test with 6 IU hGH was performed to exclude growth hormone deficiency: Does the department know which batches or batch numbers were used during these ‘diagnostic’ tests.

(3) (a) Is the Minister aware that the authors of the journal paper ( J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002;72:792-793) reporting on this case concluded: ‘This case indicates that still more patients with iatrogenic CJD can be expected in the coming years. Another implication of our study is that CJD can develop even after a single low dose of human growth hormone’; and (b) given this, to what extent was the diagnostic use of hGH considered.

(4) With reference to the statement in the journal paper that, ‘If low doses presented a risk I would have thought that other cases would have come to light before now’: Given that this deceased patient is believed to be the first treated with ‘diagnostic hGH’: (a) is the department expecting other cases of iatrogenic CJD in the coming years; (b) what advice has the Minister been given on this matter; (c) what action does the department intend to take to deal with the increase in CJD cases; (d) will all ‘unofficial’ patients who were treated with ‘diagnostic infusions’ of hGH during GH stimulation tests be notified of this new risk; and (e) what, if any, action does the Government intend for people who are expected to suffer iatrogenic CJD through the diagnostic test who are now confirmed ‘at risk’.

(5) Were all children treated in clinical trials registered with the department at the time of their treatment with hGH.

(6) How many low dose ‘one-off infusion’ recipients of hGH, as part of a diagnostic procedure, were involved.

(7) What is the Government doing to track the missing 5 per cent of the hGH recipients.