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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1357

(Question No. 5034)

Mr Moore asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 17 February 1987:

Why was a constituent of mine charged $11.57 for his most recent purchase of Dilantin, upon which his son is dependent, when a brochure entitled ``The Safety Net-Your Protection against high prescription costs'' states that the average cost for each prescription will be about $7.30.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Under the new Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the average cost of a prescription item is $7.30 with the maximum patient contribution being $10.00.

Dilantin attracts the maximum patient contribution plus a special patient contribution.

The application of special patient contribution provisions to Dilantin is the result of action taken by the manufacturer, Parke Davis Pty Ltd, to unilaterally increase the price of its product by an amount which the Government regards as unjustifiable in the light of cost and profit data, and therefore unacceptable.

My Department has reviewed the price of Dilantin on a number of occasions, and has granted a further price increase with effect from 1 November 1986. However, at the same time the company further increased its price, and therefore a special patient contribution remains.

I would stress that the special patient contribution for Dilantin was not introduced to discriminate against epilepsy sufferers, but was due to the unilateral action of the manufacturer, Parke Davis Pty Ltd, PO Box 42, Caringbah, NSW, 2229. I regret that a special patient contribution is necessary and, in the circumstances, I would suggest that your constituents complain direct to that company.