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Tuesday, 16 August 1960

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Health, upon notice: -

1.   Did Mr. J. D. Button, Stipendiary Magistrate, when presiding recently at an inquest into the death of a Canberra resident, find that the deceased died from poisoning resulting from the taking of tablets sold commercially as " Relaxa-Tabs "?

l.   Has Mr. Button recommended that the Com monwealth Director-General of Health should have this product placed on the restricted list so that it would be supplied only on production of a doctor's prescription?

3.   Was a recommendation also made by Mr. Button that the State Directors of Health be asked to take similar action in their respective States?

4.   Are any previous cases of death, attributable to the taking of these tablets, known to his department?

5.   Is any action to be taken as a result of Mr. Button's recommendations; if so, what are the details?

Dr Donald Cameron (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes.

2.   Yes.

3.   Yes.

4.   Individual medical officers of the Department of Health have become aware of a number of cases of death from poisoning resulting from the taking of excess quantities of drugs of this kind.

5.   Prior to Mr. Button's recommendation action had already been commenced to have an amendment made to the Australian Capital Territory Poisons and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance with a view to restricting the supply of two of the main constituents of these tablets to persons who present doctors' prescriptions. Queensland State law already contains provisions to this effect. The question of amending the law in States other than Queensland is under examination by the appropriate State authorities.

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