Support for Human Pituitary Hormone Recipients – Increased funding

A new initiative under this year’s Budget will assist people exposed to the risk of CJD, providing counselling and other support services, and will also ensure that proper infection control procedures are in place to prevent transmission of the disease.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an incurable, untreatable disease that can only be tested for through a brain biopsy or at autopsy. It has an incubation period that can exceed 40 years.
  • Almost 2,000 people treated under the Australian Human Pituitary Hormone Programme (AHPHP), operated by the Commonwealth from 1960-1985, were exposed to the risk of CJD, with five people believed to have died as a result. Approximately 500 people were exposed through other programmes. Around 20 new cases of CJD are identified each year in Australia. The last case of CJD in a Human Pituitary Hormone (HPH) recipient occurred in 1992.

Who will benefit?

  • This measure will ensure that those who have been exposed to the risk of CJD, through past participation in the AHPH Programme, will benefit from counselling, and other support services. It will also ensure that proper infection control procedures are in place for these individuals to prevent disease transmission.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government will provide an additional $0.2 million over four years to expand its surveillance of CJD and support activities for recipients of human pituitary hormones. This funding is in addition to $1.2 million over four years already allocated to the Australian National CJD Registry (Registry).

What have we done in the past?

  • The Government has been committed to this issue since an Independent Inquiry in 1993 examined the operation of, and issues arising from, the AHPHP. The Government supports the Inquiry’s recommendation to continue funding through to 2010.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative will be reviewed in the 2010-11 Budget.

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