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Wednesday, 27 October 1993
Page: 2656

Senator CHAMARETTE (6.01 p.m.) —I thank the Minister for Family Services (Senator Crowley) for that offer of a briefing. I would be more than willing to receive it. However, I did want these questions to go on the public record, because I believe that there may be an instance here requiring the further scrutiny of the process by which these goods are listed. That is especially so since the clause that is under discussion in this bill makes no provision for the liability of the Commonwealth, the secretary or any delegate of the secretary in respect of loss, injury or damage through the use of these therapeutic goods.

  I do not want to delay the Senate any longer than is necessary. It is important to put on the record and flag the fact that I am interested in a more detailed briefing and in discussing the question of whether an inquiry may be an appropriate follow-up examination of the basis on which this clause was inserted and the kind of protection that the community will be afforded.

  My final questions relate to the procedures. What measures are in place to ensure the ongoing quality, safety and efficacy of therapeutic goods listed on the Australian therapeutic goods register? Is there a requirement for the regular monitoring and review of goods in the light of current and new research in the relevant field? Rather than giving me a long briefing, perhaps the minister can tell me whether there are monitoring procedures in place and what kind of access is available to new information and research on particular products? I know that the minister will be particularly concerned, because silicone implants for breasts are listed on the therapeutic goods register and, of course, there has been some controversy about the research findings in relation to them.