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Fifty years of independent expert advice on prescription medicines
Senator the Hon Fiona Nash
Assistant Minister for Health
Senator for New South Wales
Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the Senate
Australian Drug Evaluation Committee 1963-2009
Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines from 2010
It is a pleasure for me to write this letter of introduction, as we celebrate fifty years of expert, independent advice on the quality, safety and effectiveness of prescription medicines.
This anniversary prompts us to pause and remember the tragic foundation upon which the original committee, the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) was built. The devastating effects of the medicine thalidomide on unborn babies introduced a new era for regulating medicines both in Australia and globally.
This booklet highlights a number of the significant achievements of the ADEC and its successor, the Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines (ACPM), in facilitating and enabling access to new medicines and in preventing the introduction of medicines that are ineffective or have major safety problems.
As we look back over the last fifty years, it is amazing to reflect on how medicine has changed so many lives for the better. Vaccines and antibiotics have turned common diseases into rare ones, and modern discoveries have increased and improved the range of medicines available to the Australian public.
Advisory committee members are at the forefront of this expanding medical knowledge and this is reflected in the eminence of many past and current committee members. In recent years, consumer participation has become part of the Committee’s work, reflecting the importance of the ‘consumer voice’ in the development of health policy.
The Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines is well positioned to continue providing specialist expert advice into the future. I thank the past, present and future members of the Committee for their significant contribution.