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Tuesday, 9 November 1976
Page: 2505

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(   1 ) What research is being conducted into allergic diseases in Australia, by whom and at what cost.

(2)   What expertise does the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee possess in allergic diseases and their treatment.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) Medical research in Australia is funded from a multiplicity of sources. As there is no register of research supported from private sources such as drug companies, private foundations and funds it is not possible to give an estimate of the total annual expenditure on research into allergic diseases.

The Commonwealth Government finances medical research through the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Council supports at present the following three projects into allergic diseases at a cost of $43,000.

Dr A.J. Woolcock 'The pharmacological nature of bronchial hyperactivity in asthma'

Dr R.V. Southcott, 'Harmful effects to man from animals and plants'

Dr K.J. Turner, 'Immunological studies on allergic disease'.

(2)   The six medical practitioner members of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee include two consultant physicians and a consultant paediatrician as well as two general practitioners and a neurologist. The Committee also includes a Professor of Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology.

It was never envisaged that the Committee would provide from within its membership, expertise in all the many specialities of medicine and it does not include a specialist allergist.

However, to keep abreast of the latest developments in the various fields of medicine, the Committee meets periodically with representatives of the various medical Colleges and Societies, including the Australian College of Allergists. In addition, the Committee from time to time seeks expert advice from specialists and specialist bodies where the Committee considers such action to be appropriate.

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