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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 1950

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I would like to ask a question of the Minister representing the Minister for Health. As this chamber is quite aware, on many occasions I have spoken on the bureaucratic control of the drug Intal. At last a glimmer of light has filtered through. As from 1 January that drug will be taken from the national health prescribed list of drugs requiring a special authority. Why can it not be taken from the list now? I do not want to go into the reasons why that cannot be done now. Also, will the Minister ask the Minister for Health, if he has to get the information from the Minister, why we have to suffer any special purpose authorities?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -As all honourable senators will appreciate, Senator Turnbull has been raising this matter from time to time. I think that during the course of the debate on the National Health Bill in 1970, when this Party was in opposition, I expressed the same sort of views as those that Senator Turnbull has been expressing. However, I am sure that the honourable senator will very much appreciate that at last someone has done something about the matter. He says that as he understands the position the special authority for Intal will no longer be required as from 1 January next year. He asks that the date be brought forward. I do not know whether it is possible but I will certainly discuss that matter with my colleague, the Minister for Health. I understand from previous discussions that I have had with officers of the Department of Health- I think Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson might be able to confirm this because previously he was a Minister for Health- that many of these special authorities were insisted upon because there was a fear not only of over-prescribing but also of overindulgence on the part of the patients using the drug concerned. However, I will refer the second portion of the honourable senator's question to my colleague, the Minister for Health, to see whether he can provide the honourable senator with additional information.

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