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Government commitment on human embryo drug disclosure welcomed.



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Government commitment on human embryo drug disclosure welcomed

Senator Brian Harradine has welcomed the Government’s commitment to ensure consumers will be informed about drugs manufactured or tested using human embryos.

Senator Harradine had planned to move consumer information amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2003 this afternoon. However he agreed to the Government’s request for the matter to be referred to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for urgent consideration and a report in a month.

Senator Harradine said that his proposals went to the importance of full disclosure and consumers’ right to know. “I am sure everyone believes this is a right that must be protected and upheld at all costs: that consumers must know what is in the drugs they take or are considering taking”, Senator Harradine told the Senate.

“The amendments that I distributed cover a specific pharmaceutical category so far not covered by any consumer right to know legislation or regulations, and about which there is great community concern.

“They would ensure that information was available with pharmaceutical products and in advertising for pharmaceutical products so that consumers can determine whether the pharmaceuticals were tested, created or manufactured using human embryos or human embryonic stem cells.

The proposed amendments used a system of Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) pamphlets, which already accompany medication, established by the Government in January.

“Consumers could then make a fully informed choice as to whether or not they wished to use the pharmaceutical product.

“If consumers have a right to know what goes into their fuel tanks, they surely have the right to know what is going into their bodies”, Senator Harradine said, referring to the ethanol in petrol issue.

“I have been in negotiations with the Government and am pleased to the Health Minister, Senator Patterson, has agreed to pursue these amendments further.”

“However I trust I will not be fobbed off by the TGA and that the Government is serious and will see through its undertaking to me today in real outcomes for consumers who would find the consumption of drugs made from or tested on human embryos abhorrent.”

15 May 2003

Senator Brian Harradine, Tel. 02 6277 3735