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Thursday, 9 December 1965

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Health) - Because of the problems associated with the side effects of drugs, and because of other complications, we have a very clearly defined system for the control of items which are included in or deleted from the list of pharmaceutical benefits. We have a Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee consisting of experts to advise the Minister on items that should be included, and equally on items that should be deleted, and in addition those that should be used for restricted purposes. The Department has also the advice of the Drug Evaluation Committee which makes an assessment of information available overseas and within Australia in relation to possible dangers of side effects from drugs.

Price does not come into consideration because the Committees are not asked to consider economic features; they are asked to consider only the question of the safety of the drugs concerned and whether or not they are suitable for the treatment of certain disabilities. However, I will look at the particular items that have been mentioned by the honorable member and will let him have a further reply.

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