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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 827 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

This Bill amends the Poisons and Drugs Act 1978. Provisions in the Act prohibit the advertising of pharmacist-only medicines except in publications intended for circulation only within the medical, nursing, veterinary, dental or pharmaceutical professions, or the wholesale drug industry. The Bill amends the Act to allow advertising to the general public of some pharmacist-only medicines, which are also known as Schedule 3 medicines and are available without prescription following consultation with a pharmacist.

The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee publishes, under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, the standard for the uniform scheduling of drugs and poisons. The chairman of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council advised the committee at its February 1998 meeting that State and Territory Health Ministers had agreed to allow some product brand-name advertising to the public of selected pharmacy-only medicines. Subsequently, the committee considered on a product-by-product basis what pharmacist-only substances would be appropriate for advertising to the general public.

Examples of substances which the committee decided could be advertised include some non-sedating antihistamines for the relief of hay fever, an anticholinergic agent for the treatment of spasm of the gastrointestinal tract, a topical preparation for hair growth promotion, and nicotine-containing chewing gum and transdermal patches as aids to smoking cessation. These changes will allow consumers more choice and information about the medicines they use. Advertising of certain medications will make patients more aware of available treatments while promoting the sensible use of medication.

Pharmacists are well equipped to handle inquiries from patients about these products, and are in the position to advise patients to go to their doctor if the products they are using are not appropriate. All States have made a commitment to the new advertising requirements for pharmacists-only medicines, and all States have amended or are amending their legislation to incorporate these changes. Amending the Act will ensure that the ACT fulfils its commitment to the harmonisation of advertising requirements for drugs and poisons throughout Australia.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.


MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.37): I present the Tobacco (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR MOORE: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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