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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 359

(Question No. 295)

Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 13 May 1985:

(1) Could the Minister for Health advise the number of pharmaceutical benefit prescriptions issued for valium syrup for use by children for the years 1979 to 1984.

(2) Could the Minister provide the results of examinations by the Drug Evaluation Section and the Adverse Drug Reactions Sections of the Department of Health (see answer to Question No. 472, Hansard, 10 June 1981, p. 3012).

Senator Grimes —The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Valium paediatric syrup 2mg, per 5ml, 100ml is available as an unrestricted pharmaceutical benefit. It is not specifically restricted to the treatment of children and it is not possible to determine how many prescriptions were written for children. However, the following figures represent total pharmaceutical benefit prescribing for this syrup during the years ended 31 December, 1979 to 31 December, 1984.

1979... 8,238

1980... 6,240

1981... 6,548

1982... 5,757

1983... 3,098

1984... 4,393

(2) No relation between diazepam use and the risk of breast cancer had been domonstrated. Animal data indicated that the tumourigenic potential of diazepam is low. Although extrapolation of the results of animal studies to man is difficult, no specific indication that diazepam is carcinogenic was found.