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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2437

Mr MILLAR - Will the Minister for Health request the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to consider the addition of fertility pills to the pharmaceutical benefits list since oral contraceptive pills-are already on this list?

Mr HUNT - It is refreshing to find that at least one honourable member is interested in fertility and not sterility. I assume that the honourable member for Wide Bay is referring to a drug known as clomid that is available for those people seeking to improve fertility. The National Health and Medical Research Council has, of course, made certain recommendations in respect of this technical matter. I know that the honourable member is interested in this matter as he mentioned it to me earlier. As a result I have obtained some information for him.

Dr Klugman - Incorporate it.

Mr HUNT - It is very short. The National Health and Medical Research Council recommended in 1967 that these preparations should be available to medical practitioners with specialised knowledge and experience in this type of therapy and using laboratories to ensure proper control of therapy. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee considers it desirable that the drug concerned should be made available as a pharmaceutical benefit but can see no satisfactory means of achieving this end at present due to differing interpretations of the Council's recommendation by the various States and State health authorities. The situation is unfortunate. However my Department is keeping this matter under review. As soon as we have a more common approach amongst the States we will be able to have this drug referred once again to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for consideration and hopefully a recommendation that it be included as a benefit under the pharmaceutical benefits list.

Mr SPEAKER -Sextuplets is no laughing matter.

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