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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The provisions of the recently passed National Health Bill, which apply to pharmaceutical benefits, will not be proclaimed to come into operation on 1st January. At the request of the chemists, I have agreed to delay the proclamation of that part of the act for sufficient time to enable the chemists to make the necessary administrative arrangements for the changeover. However, the relevant provisions will be proclaimed as soon as possible in the New Year.

The actual position with regard to prescribing under the new arrangement will be precisely the same as it is now. When the patient goes to a doctor the doctor will write a prescription in duplicate for a pharmaceutical benefit, just as he does now. The patient will take that prescription to the chemist, who will dispense it for the patient just as he does now, but the chemist will be entitled and, indeed, expected to charge the patient 5s. The adjustment in respect of the remainder of the cost of the prescription will be made, again just as it is now, from the returns sent in by the chemist to the Department of Health. The chemists at present are paid monthly-

Mr Thompson - What will be the position in respect of drugs not on the list? Will there be for them a different kind of prescription?

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The position there will be the same as it is now. The doctor will write a prescription for a drug that is not a pharmaceutical benefit in the same way as he does now. The prescription will not carry the letters " N.H.S." on the top of it, and will be dispensed by the chemist as at present.

Mr Thompson - It will not be in triplicate form-

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