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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1112

Senator POYSER - I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to a statement which appeared in yesterday's 'Australian' in which it is alleged that a major pharmaceutical company has mounted a massive advertising campaign for an analgesic product called Panaceta? Is it alleged that the advertisements make claims that this analgesic could alleviate sleeplessness and nausea- claims which, according to Dr B. H. Stock, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Australia, are quite unfounded? In view of this breach of the present voluntary advertising code, can the Minister advise the Senate when the Australian Government's new advertising code will be introduced to stop this false and dangerous advertising?

Senator WHEELDON -There is no national law which covers the advertising of pharmaceutical goods. Each State or Territory is responsible for making its own laws within its own areas with regard to these matters.

Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - There is the Drug Evaluation Committee.

Senator WHEELDON -However, there is a body called the National Therapeutic Goods Committee and there is the Drug Evaluation Committee, as Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson has mentioned, although its role is somewhat different in that it considers the nature of drugs but not advertising associated with them. The National Therapeutic Goods Committee consists of representatives from the Federal Government and the State governments. At the meeting of the Australian Ministers for Health, which was held in August of this year, the Ministers agreed to take back to their respective States proposals that had come from the National Therapeutic Goods Committee which called for a uniform code of advertising for pharmaceutical products. This Government is still not aware of the actions which the States intend to take to implement the recommendations of the Health Ministers Conference. However, the Minister for Health in this Government does intend to introduce as soon as possible proposals to control this form of advertising in the Territories under the authority of this Government.

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