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Notice given 15 January 2007

2960  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Why did the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of rebates for bone mineral density scans exclude rebates for people under the age of 70 when osteoporosis typically occurs in women much earlier, at about the time of menopause.

(2) What preventive measures has the Government adopted for osteoporosis, given that it is largely preventable through weight bearing exercise and calcium supplements.

(3) (a) Why did the Government take calcium off the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for osteoporosis; and (b) was this against the advice of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

(4) Has the Government considered providing blood vitamin D testing given the evidence that the high rate of hip fractures in old people is due to deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D.

(5) Does the Government accept that people in wheelchairs are unable to do weight bearing exercise and warrant earlier access to bone mineral density scans; if so, will rebates be provided for such people.


 (6) What was the rationale for limiting the Medicare rebate on bone mineral density scans at minimum intervals of 2 years.