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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Page: 21619

Mr Rudd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 17 September 2003:

(1) Did the Minister's department receive communications between the Australian Embassy in Hanoi and Canberra in 1999, 2000, 2001 or 2002 on concerns raised by the Vietnamese authorities about the quality and content of pharmaceutical products imported from Australia from the Pan Pharmaceutical company or one of its subsidiary/derivative companies.

(2) When were representations made by the Vietnamese authorities to the Australian Embassy about their concerns and what was the nature of their concerns.

(3) What action did the Vietnamese authorities take to the continued sale and distribution of these pharmaceuticals in Vietnam and when.

(4) What were the dates on which these Vietnamese representations to the Australian Embassy in Hanoi were reported to Canberra.

(5) What were the dates on which the Vietnamese government took action against the sale and distribution of Pan Pharmaceutical products and when was this reported to Canberra by the Embassy in Hanoi.

(6) What action did the Minister's department take in response to the report from the Australian Embassy in Hanoi on the Vietnamese concerns about the quality of the Pan Pharmaceutical products and any action the Vietnamese authorities had taken in relation to Pan Pharmaceuticals.

Mr Vaile (Minister for Trade) —On behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and myself, the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) to (4)Not applicable - see answer to (1).

(5) In early May 2003, following Australia's lead, the Vietnamese Government recalled all Pan Pharmaceutical products manufactured after 1 May 2002 and placed a ban on their circulation in Vietnam. It also deregistered six Pan Pharmaceutical Products. The Embassy in Hanoi reported this to Canberra on 9 May 2003.

(6) Not applicable - see answer to (1).