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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The

Federated Pharmaceutical Service Guild of Australia does negotiate with the Federal Government over the price which the Government pays to the individual chemist for pharmaceutical benefits. As the honorable gentleman will realize, the Government is concerned only with drugs which are listed as pharmaceutical benefits. The chemist is paid under a rather complicated arrangement which covers his cost of purchasing the drug, his cost of prescribing, and so on, in order to arrive at a fair price which the Government will pay to him. The honorable gentleman used the words " patent medicines ". I am not quite sure whether he intended that term to be taken in the strict sense.

Mr Bury - No, generally.

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Patent medicines are not included in the list of pharmaceutical benefits. Whether the Pharmaceutical Service Guild receives royalties on certain products, I do not know.

I do not think that whether it does or not makes any difference to the price that the Federal Government pays, because that price is calculated on the actual cost of the drug - what the chemist has to pay for it - and is reviewed in the light of what the negotiators who act on behalf of the Department of Health consider to be a reasonable price. I am not sure whether the practice referred to by the honorable gentleman can be described as a restrictive practice. Whether it can or not, the matter appears to me to be outside the administrative orbit of the Federal Government. In any event, so far as I can see, the practice is unlikely to exert any influence on the price paid for pharmaceutical benefits.

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