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Democrats amend Therapeutic Goods Bill

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PR 89/566 Canberra December 13, 1989


The Australian Democrats supported the passage of the Therapeutic Goods Bill last night after the Government agreed to accept a number of Democrat amendments.

"We were concerned with the imposition of fees and charges on start-up companies and those companies which have a wide range of products but low turnover on each one. Many herbal products are in this category. We therefore amended the Bill to allow the waiving of fees for those items where the turnover is small and the items of low value.

"This amendment will also greatly benefit those new companies manufacturing new medical equipment. This industry could make significant improvements in health care as well as adding to export earnings. It is important that it not be

heavily discouraged through the imposition of large fees. Likewise we achieved exemption for non-profit making hospital supply units.

"We also had concerns about the role of the National Health and Medical Research Council which asseses drugs and determines which will be on the Poisons Schedule. The NHMRC is not a statutory body and their processes are not open to close scrutiny. Senator Tate, however, on behalf of the Minister, assured us that the NHMRC is currently under review

and invited submissions to the review process. We believe certain changes to the NHMRC must be made, such as making its committee members full-time, having a more transparent system of review and implementing a proper appeal mechanism" Senator Coulter concluded.

Further information: John Coulter 062-773648 Jenny Macleod 062-773645