Page 2839 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 5 August 2008

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In the UK there is a register for your GP, which overcomes this problem, and there people can only have one GP. This is not necessarily the solution we want; nor might it be practical for our situation, but this is an issue which should be addressed.

I am not sure whether this bill is the appropriate place to try to safeguard our community pharmacies; I suspect it is not. I will certainly put my support behind the intent of Mrs Burke’s bill when it comes to the Assembly. The Greens have a strong record of supporting community pharmacies, just as we support community health facilities, and believe that we need to really make sure that substances, dangerous chemicals and so on, which medicines and poisons and therapeutic goods do consist of, are always dispensed by people with expertise. Community pharmacies often have a relationship with the customer so that they give the information that the customer needs. But no doubt that will be addressed later, as Mrs Burke has anticipated.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (12.26), in reply: The bill we are considering today will significantly reform legislation regulating the supply of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods in the territory. A key objective of the bill is to promote and protect public health and safety through measures aimed at preventing or minimising the diversion of substances regulated by this bill and medicinal misadventure associated with such substances.

The bill also seeks to ensure that consumers have access to prescription and non-prescription medicines through authorised health professionals, to enable them to use those medicines safely and effectively. The bill establishes an authorisation and licensing framework for medicines and poisons as well as grounds and powers for disciplinary action to be taken against authorised and licensed persons. The bill also contains a range of offences, particularly for most serious contraventions of the legislation. Enforcement of the proposed legislation would be effected through a comprehensive range of inspection and seizure powers, including the capacity to take and analyse samples.

Much of the current legislation in the territory that is applicable to medicines and poisons, such as the Poisons Act 1933, the Poisons and Drugs Act 1978 and the Public Health (Prohibited Drugs) Act 1957, is out of date, inconsistent or unclear on key issues. The bill therefore seeks to simplify the regulation of medicines and poisons in the territory and to align us with the rest of Australia in current best practice. If passed, the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Bill will repeal these acts and will also consolidate and clarify the majority of the laws of the territory concerning the supply of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods.

The bill also makes amendments to the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989, the Health Professionals Act 2004 and the Public Health Act 1997. Each of these acts regulates one or more aspects of the control of medicines, poisons and therapeutic goods.

The bill is also very important to the territory as it seeks to implement the recommendations of the National competition policy review of drugs, poisons and controlled substances legislation report. This review, which has become known as the Galbally review, was completed in 2001 and accepted by the Council of Australian

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