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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2470

Senator COLEMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. I draw his attention to a report on page 5 of today 's 'Australian ' relating to ineffective suntan oils. As Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world and in view of the alarming statement made yesterday by 3 professors from the Department of Dermatology at Harvard University, will the Minister call for an immediate inquiry into the true situation here in Australia? Will he make public the findings of any such inquiry? Will he consider whether action can be taken under the Trade Practices Act if there has in fact been unethical, untrue, or misleading advertising on the part of some pharmaceutical companies?

Senator WHEELDON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Repatriation and Compensation) - I have seen reports of the statements made by the 3 scientists from Harvard. In fact, I did see one of them being interviewed on television. Certainly what they have said is very alarming and I shall see that this is referred to the Minister for Health for early investigation by his Department. If the result of the inquiries do confirm what has been said by the 3 visiting specialists from Harvard University, then indeed it may well be a matter for action under the Trade Practices Act and no doubt the matter would be referred by the Minister for Health to the Attorney-General for appropriate action.

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