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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 127

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Health; upon notice:

(1)   How many applications were lodged last year with the Commonwealth Department of Health for use of Drugs classified . as 'Special Authority Pharmaceutical Benefit'.

(2)   What is the usual period of time it takes for an application concerning the listing of an item for pharmaceutical benefits to be processed by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

(3)   What is the procedure involved in a patient obtaining ' a drug classified as 'Special Authority Pharmaceutical Benefit'.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   84,214. All these applications were in respect of disodium cromoglycate (Intal) for which, because it is a new drug consisting of solid material inhaled directly into the lungs, additional information was required on a special application form, referred to as a 'Special Authority'. The use of the special application form was discontinued on 1st April 1972, following a recommendation to this effect from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

(2)   Between 7 and 11 months, depending on the time between the result of an application which is eventually successful, and the meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee at which the application is considered.

The honourable senator will be aware that the application' referred to in this part of the question is not related to the 'applications' referred to in part (1) or the 'procedure' referred to in part (3).

(3)   Prior to 1st April 1972, when the 'Special Authority' requirement for Intal was discontinued, and replaced by the normal application for authority to prescribe, the application was made by the patient's medical practitioner to the DirectorGeneral of Health or his delegate on a special form (Form PB10a). Except for the form, this procedure was identical with that required in respect of other drugs for the prescription of which the authority of the Director-General is required.

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