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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2428

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health whether he agrees with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia that the wider distribution of minor analgesics - aspirin-type medicines - through supermarkets from next month constitutes a risk to public health? Is it a fact that (a) a number of popular brands of aspirin products have been available in supermarkets for some years and (b) the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse recommended against the sale of aspirin products being restricted to chemist shops only?

Senator GREENWOOD - lt is a fact that wider distribution of certain analgesics is proposed and ). believe that some of the chain stores are selling them whereas previously they were not. I should mention in passing that the competition in this area which has been engendered in recent months has meant substantial reductions in the sale price of these analgesics, not only by the chain stores but also by many chemists who appreciate the situation in which they are placed. However, I must say that at present there are no restrictions on the sale of these analgesics and there never have been such restrictions. I understand that the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Abuse did not recommend the imposition of restrictions. However, it did say that there was a risk of impulse buying which ought not to be encouraged and that that risk was heightened if the analgesics were publicly displayed in a way that would cause a person going through the store to pick them up on the basis that they were available and the price was right. I am quite sure that the National Health and Medical Research Council will have this problem under review at its periodic meetings.

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