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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 1735

Dr Cass (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Have changes been made recently in the maximum quantities of drugs that doctors can prescribe under the National Health Scheme.

(2)   If so, are the drugs Laroxyl (amitriptyline hydrochloride) and Concordin (protriptyline hydrochloride) 2 of the drugs affected by these changes.

(3)   If there have been reductions in the maximum quantities allowed per prescription, what were the reasons for these reductions in respect of Laroxyl and Concordin for example.

Dr Forbes - The answer to the honourable, member's question is as follows:

(1)   Changes have been made in the maximum quantities of some preparations of specific drugs available as pharmaceutical benefits.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   The reductions made were in accordance with specific recommendations of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. As the honourable member may be aware the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Council is a statutory body established under the National Health Act to advise the Minister for Health on matters concerning the listing of pharmaceutical benefits. The Committee does not give reasons for its recommendations. However, the honourable member may be assured that they are made only after detailed consideration, and often after examining expert advice from relevant sources including the medical Colleges and Societies. I should like to draw the honourable member's attention to an article by the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, published in the 'A.M.A. Gazette' of 27th July 1972, entitled 'Discerning use of antidepressant drugs urged'.

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