Controlled Substances (Therapeutic Goods And Other Matters) Amendment Bill

08 Feb 2011 archivespeech

This speech is in relation to the Controlled Substances (Therapeutic Goods And Other Matters) Amendment Bill and to indicate support for the bill.

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 24 November 2010.)

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (15:40): I rise to provide some comments in relation to this bill which I understand is reasonably technical in that it seeks to straddle the commonwealth and state regimes that apply to therapeutic goods and prescribing. I received a letter from the minister last month containing a brief paragraph that I will read into the record for the benefit of members. The letter states:

[This bill] enables nurse practitioners and midwives (with the relevant endorsements) to practice to the full scope of their competence and to prescribe some scheduled medicines. This would result in their patients being able to access subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, as well as providing people, particularly in rural areas, with greater access to healthcare. The bill will also enable items such as cosmetics and deodorants to be sold via vending machine, as well as place controls on the unscheduled medicines and medical devices that would be permitted to be sold via vending machines, such as small packs of paracetamol and syringes. Finally, the bill also seeks to apply the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 [of the commonwealth] as a law of South Australia to ensure that there are no gaps in the regulation of medicines and medical devices in South Australia.

There was fairly extensive discussion of this bill in the House of Assembly so I will refer people to those debates. I do note that we have had changes to our registration of health practitioners which is moving to a federal regime and that has captured some of these issues, and therefore the prescription and related matters need to be unified to provide that those practices can take place within people's scope of practice and within their training. I do not propose to go over all of that in great detail.

I do note that my learned colleague the Hon. Stephen Wade has an amendment to this particular bill which he will address at the committee stage of the debate. I indicate that we are generally supportive of this bill. I note too that there are some tricky issues that I think have arisen for quite some decades which could be described as professional patches, that the nursing federation is very active in seeking the recognition of nurse practitioners and that the AMA is concerned about allowing midwives and nurse practitioners to provide prescription drugs and other medications under the PBS.
However, that is a matter for other debate rather than, I think, hindering what may take place through the mechanisms of this bill. With those brief words, I indicate that we support the bill and look forward to the committee stage of the debate.