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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 151

Senator KEEFFE asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   Can the Minister inform the Parliament why Librium capsules, which are prescribed for many aged pensioners, have been taken off the free medicine list.

(2)   Is the Minister aware that a small bottle of Librium capsules costs in excess of $6 and is therefore not within the reach of a pensioner's income.

(3)   Will the Minister investigate the possibility of restoring Librium capsules to the free medicine list.

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   Librium, a minor tranquilliser, has never been listed as a pharmaceutical benefit either for pensioners or for non-pensioners. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has, on a number of occasions, considered requests to make librium available as a benefit but has not, to date, been prepared to so recommend. The Committee is not required to provide reasons for its decisions but the honourable senator may be assured that it arrives at its recommendations only after thorough consideration and evaluation of the drug concerned.

(2)   Yes. There is, however, an alternative minor tranquilliser listed as a benefit. This may be prescribed as a pharmaceutical benefit for pensioners, for any disease or condition.

(3)   In view of the honourable senator's question, the matter will be referred to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for further consideration.

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