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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The question of the inclusion of drugs on the pharmaceutical benefits list is not determined purely on costs. Cortisone is one of a group of drugs which exert the most profound effects on physiology and which have to be used with the greatest caution. The Government is advised as to whether it should make such drugs available, and upon what conditions, by an expert committee of doctors and pharmacists, upon which the doctors predominate. It is guided by the advice of this committee. So far the committee has not considered it advisable to make cortisone generally available. I realize that some doctors consider that the restrictions are perhaps too narrow but, as this is a matter of opinion, no absolute verdict can ever be obtained upon it. In the meantime I am sure the honorable gentleman will agree that it is essential that such restrictions as are advised by the committee should be adhered to. The use of cortisone and of cortisone derivatives has been steadily increased by the committee from the time when cortisone, the original member of this series, was first placed on the list.

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