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Thursday, 9 December 1965

Mr GRIFFITHS (SHORTLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Are Betnelan tablets free when prescribed for severe eczema and inflammation skin disorders? Is phenylbutazone free when prescribed for rheumatism as an anti-inflammation drug? Are the tablets respectively priced at 74. 6d. and 29s. 4d. per 100? Do each of the drugs cause side effects when continually used, and is it true that phenylbutazone can cause depression and bone marrow anaesia, with dangerous consequences to patients? By what reasoning is the dearer prescription free when used in inflammatory skin conditions, and not free when used by sufferers from arthritis? Is the real reason for not allowing Betnelan tablets to be prescribed free to arthritis sufferers, especially to pensioners, the high cost factor? If it is not, will the Minister examine personally the features associated with both the formulas which impel him to accept one drug and to reject the other for arthritis sufferers?

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