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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I am not quite satisfied with the request that has been moved. It seems to penalize sick people outside hospitals, while, very rightly, giving an advantage to sick inside those institutions. My experience does not go very far with these particular commodities, but it is obvious that if only half a ton of saccharin is imported in a year, pretty well the whole of it is used for medicinal purposes. or for sick people; that is, for people who, unfortunatey, suffer from some physical disease for which sugar is a poison. I. feel that the request should he enlarged to include medicinal purposes both inside and outside hospitals. A man may be walking about, and need no hospital treatment whatever, and yet be suffering from an extremely serious disease, and be taking saccharin tablets at every one of his three meals a day. I understand the Minister's objection to the request is that saccharin for medicinal purposes cannot be " policed"; but I fail to see how these said-to-be very effective departmental by-laws cannot "police" saccharin for medicinal purposes, just as they " police " many other things, not, so far as I can see, more difficult to deal with. After all, the drug trade of Australia is in the hands of a dozen or so reputable firms, which will have to give certain guarantees and bonds to the Customs Department in connexion with such an item.

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