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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1136

Senator CARRICK - Has the Minister for Health seen the reported findings of the General Accounting Office in the United States of America that the Division of Biologic Standards in that country permitted 32 substances, including some influenza vaccines, to be marketed although they were virtually useless and some may have been actually dangerous? Will the Minister assure the Senate that the controls of production and marketing of all such vaccines and other biological materials in Australia are such as to prevent a similar occurrence in this country?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - I am aware of the report to which the honourable senator referred as it was drawn to my attention. Viral vaccines for human use. which are imported into Australia are subject to the controls of the Therapeutic Goods Act and the relevant sections of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. Protocols of manufacturing, and where appropriate, certificates of release from the responsible authority in the country of export are required and examined when received.

Where vaccines, whether imported or manufactured in Australia, are supplied under the national health scheme a regular sampling and testing programme is carried out. Over a period all of these products are thus examined. The same conditions apply to other biological products, such as antibiotics and insulin, when supplied under the national health scheme. While individual products are examined from time to time, it is not practical to examine each batch of a product which is produced by a manufacturer. However, other measures to ensure quality of products, such as inspection of manufacturing facilities, are. carried out in collaboration with State health authorities under relevant State legislation.

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