Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — My constituent matter is in regard to Terumo syringes of low quality that are being used in the Northern Metropolitan Region. The syringes are used in a range of needle and syringe programs in my area, and it appears the company has made changes to its manufacturing processes which have impacted on the quality of the needles. I have been told that problems include: needles breaking off in people’s arms, being blunt to the point of inefficacy and even foreign matter being found in barrels.
An Age article published in July quotes the CEO of the Penington Institute, John Ryan, as saying that he was working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services on a survey of about 400 injecting drug users to see which syringes they prefer. Given the serious and potentially deadly threat posed by the syringes, when will the Victorian department of health be releasing the results of the survey, and what action will it be taking to ensure that people who use drugs are provided with the safe equipment they need?
Significant work has been undertaken by the Department of Health and Human Services in response to issues raised regarding the supply of Terumo 1 ml needles and syringes and sourcing of alternate products.
The Penington Institute recently conducted a survey of clients on behalf of the Department to determine a suitable replacement for the current product. The Department had been working to secure a supply of the preferred product, however the manufacturer has recently advised it is not able to supply the product due to production capacity issues. The Department is working closely with other suppliers to secure supply of alternative clinically acceptable products to meet clients’ needs.
An update on these matters has recently been provided to all needle and syringe program providers.