14 February 2011
Welcome to this year's first edition of Health Alert. The Health Alert is transmitted on Monday of each week (unless there is a public holiday on Monday).
Health Alert is a summary of the critical judgments, legislation, press releases and news items which have come to our attention each week. Many of the summaries will contain a hyperlink.
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The DLA Phillips Fox Health Team
Australia. Family Court of Australia
The parents of a 16 year old boy, "O", applied to the Family Court of Australia to be authorised to consent to extraction of O's sperm by electro-ejaculation and procedures aimed at enabling O to pursue life as a female. In particular they sought that O be treated with Zoladex, aimed at suppressing male pubescent development, and oestrogen, so that O could develop secondary female characteristics.
The application was successful: the court authorised the parents to consent to the procedures.
The Court underlined that in deciding a parenting order, the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration. It was agreed that the proposed hormone treatments were "special medical procedures" that fall beyond parental responsibility and require a Court determination.
The court considered evidence from various health professionals, which consistently diagnosed O as having a Gender Identity Disorder. O had persistent cross-gender identification and felt a consistent disgust with his sex, which in turn led to clinically significant distress and depression. O had also shown distress at the prospect of extracting sperm via masturbation.
O had had an earlier diagnosis of mild Asperger's Syndrome. However, on the facts this was held not to affect O's ability to think through the issues and give informed consent.
The Court was also bound to consider any likely long term physical, social and psychological effects if the procedure was or was not carried out. It held that O's mental health was at a significant risk without the proposed treatments being administered.
New South Wales. Administrative Decisions Tribunal
PRIVACY - health privacy principle - disclosure
This New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal decision concerned a former hospital patient who asserted a breach of privacy by hospital staff. The former patient argued that the hospital had breached the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 through the actions of a hospital medico-legal clerk who released to police a one page letter from the patient requesting return of medical documents.
The former patient had rung the clerk several times to follow up his request, and had become aggressive, threatening the clerk. Police arrived at the hospital, and had sat in on one such phone conversation. The clerk had given the document to police upon request.
The Tribunal found that the hospital did not breach a health information principle. In particular, the clerk's conduct came within the exemption of the Act concerning law enforcement. The Tribunal held that such disclosure had a secondary purpose of being reasonably necessary for the exercise of law enforcement functions by law enforcement agencies in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence may be committed.
Australia. Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Therapeutic Goods Administration – power for review under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1992 – interests affected – notice in writing – custom-made medical device – therapeutic devices – medical devices – criminal sanctions – initial decision – reviewable decision – registration
Australia. Federal Court of Australia
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – whether pharmacist whose economic interest would be affected by the recommendation of the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority that another pharmacist be approved to supply pharmaceutical benefits, is entitled to be accorded procedural fairness in relation to the decision to make the recommendation - whether the Authority failed to take into account a relevant consideration – whether the decision of the Authority to make the recommendation was unreasonable.
Australia. Federal Magistrates Court
FAMILY LAW – Same sex relationship, child born during the relationship – conceived naturally – meaning of artificial insemination – whether child is a child of non-biological partner – if not, whether person is concerned with care welfare and development of child – the application of the considerations in s.60CC when not a parent of the child – the issue of parental responsibility when not a parent of the child – mental health issues and impact on spend time with arrangements – need for graduated, whether counselling or ongoing involvement of Independent Children's Lawyer beneficial.
Australia. Family Court of Australia
FAMILY LAW - CHILDREN – Special medical procedures – Gender Identity Disorder
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – Leave sought to appeal VCAT decision – Appeal limited to questions of law - Reluctance to overturn a decision of an expert tribunal on questions of fact – Requirement for a vitiating error of law - If statutory words are used in their ordinary and natural meaning no question of construction arises – The meaning is a question of fact - Unchallenged finding conduct unprofessional conduct of a serious nature – Open to conclude not infamous conduct as a matter of fact – Discretion as to period of suspension not shown to have miscarried - Leave refused – Grounds of appeal must fail - S v Crimes Compensation Tribunal  1 VR 83 - Psychologists Registration Act 2000 ss 3, 48 - Health Professions Registration Act 2005 ss 163, 169.
New Zealand. Health & Disability Commissioner
Care and documentation relating to a woman with symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2010 Measures No. 1) Act 2010 - C2010A00141 " Act 141 of 2010 as made " 20/12/2010
Health Insurance Amendment (Pathology Requests) Act 2010 - C2010A00138 " Act 138 of 2010 as made " 14/12/2010
National Health Act 1953 - Amendment determination under paragraph 98C(1)(b) - conditions (No. PB 8 of 2011) - F2011L00164 " PB 8 of 2011 as made
National Health (Listing of Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 2) (No. PB 1 of 2011) - F2011L00161 " PB 1 of 2011 as made
National Health (Price and Special Patient Contribution) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 1) (PB No. 6 of 2011) - F2011L00165 " PB 6 of 2011 as made
National Health Act 1953 - Amendment Rules under subsection 99AAA(8) 2011 (No. 1) (No. PB 13 of 2011) F2011L00162 " PB 13 of 2011 as made
National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangements Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 1) (No. PB 2 of 2011) F2011L00168 " PB 2 of 2011 as made
National Health (Listed drugs on F1 or F2) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 2) (No. PB 19 of 2011) - F2011L00172 " PB 19 of 2011 as made
National Health Act 1953 - Amendment to arrangements made under subparagraph 100(1)(b)(i) - IVF/GIFT Program (No. PB 12 of 2011) - F2011L00171 " PB 12 of 2011 as made
National Health (Trastuzumab) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 1) (No. PB 4 of 2011) - F2011L00170 " PB 4 of 2011 as made
National Health (Chemotherapy Pharmaceuticals Access Program) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 1) (No. PB 3 of 2011) F2011L00169 " PB 3 of 2011 as made
Private Health Insurance (Prostheses) Rules 2011 (No. 1) - F2011L00176 "
Health (Drugs and Poisons) Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2011 No. 4 - commence 28 January 2011
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
11 February 2011- Training Boost for Indigenous Aged Care Workers-Indigenous people living in rural and remote areas will receive aged care training in their own communities under an Australian Government plan to bring employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
10 February 2011- Funding the beginning of 130 research careers -One hundred and thirty university graduates will benefit from $10.2 million of Australian Government scholarships. The scholarships have been provided to graduates in medicine, nursing, dentistry, allied health and other areas support their Masters and PhD studies - the foundations of a career in research.
10 February 2011- National Palliative Care Strategy Released-The release of the updated National Palliative Care Strategy will help ensure a nationally consistent and coordinated approach to the delivery of palliative care services across Australia.
10 February 2011- Realising real health benefits from research-Eighteen teams of researchers will be given the opportunity to develop their discoveries into products to improve human health thanks to $7.4 million of Australian Government support, provided as National Health and Medical Research Council Development Grants.
09 February 2011- 10 of the Best Medical Research Projects-The successes of the Australian Government's $700 million annual investment in health and medical research has been showcased in a new publication, 10 of the Best Research Projects 2010, launched on 9 February.
04 February 2011- Increased Safeguards for Radiotherapy Treatment -Australian cancer patients and others requiring radiotherapy will have increased safeguards to their treatment with the launch of the Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service.
04 February 2011- Sunshine Coast GP Super Clinic a Step Closer-Residents and health professionals on the Sunshine Coast are invited to share ideas on 4 February about the best options for their local GP Super Clinic.
03 February 2011- Gold Coast Community Called on for Input on GP Super Clinic-Gold Coast residents and health professionals are invited to share ideas tonight about the best options for the GP Super Clinic on the Gold Coast.
02 February 2011- Construction Underway for New Dementia Day Care Centre-People with dementia and their families will soon have access to a new Dementia Day Centre in Camden.
02 February 2011- Extra $16.1 Million for Home and Community Care in NSW-An additional $16.1 million has been provided for Home and Community Care (HACC) services across NSW.
02 February 2011- New Independent Committee to Assure Research Integrity-Australian taxpayers can be confident the research activities they fund meet the highest ethical and moral standards thanks to the establishment of the Australian Government's Australian Research Integrity Committee.
02 February 2011- Surgery Success Heralds Implementation of Kidney Exchange Program-Successful surgery for three kidney recipients late last year has heralded the welcome implementation of the new Australian Paired Kidney Exchange (AKX) program.
01 February 2011- New PBS Listings Help Fight Life Threatening Illnesses-The Australian Government has announced a boost to the fight against life-threatening conditions with the listing of new drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
31 January 2011- Community Input Sought for West Pilbara GP Super Clinic-Local residents and health professionals from the West Pilbara are invited to share ideas about the best options for the GP Super Clinic in Karratha.
31 January 2011- 85 Aboriginal Health Organisations Receive Support-The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would have access to best-practice health care, with the Australian Government announcing $5.6 million to help Aboriginal Health Organisations achieve accreditation under Australian quality standards.
30 January 2011- Cigarettes bring cancer closer: Largest-ever National Tobacco Campaign kicks off-A new hard-hitting advertising campaign that graphically links smoking with lung cancer hit the airwaves and TV screens today as the Australian Government continues its world-leading action to combat tobacco use.
30 January 2011- Watch the wheeze during back-to-school period-Parents of children with asthma should prepare back to school asthma action plans ahead of the anticipated spike in asthma cases at the start of the school term.
29 January 2011- Applications sought for new $15m ACT GP Super Clinic-The Australian Government has issued an Invitation to Apply for parties to establish the proposed $15 million ACT GP Super Clinic.
28 January 2011- Community input sought for new GP Super Clinics-Thirteen communities across the country are being invited to share ideas about the best options for GP Super Clinics in their local areas.
28 January 2011- Release of Final Report of Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy-Recommendations to improve food labelling law and policy in Australia and New Zealand are contained in the report of an independent panel released on 28 January.
27 January 2011- Directory of Services a Good Guide for Older Australians-A concise and user-friendly information directory that outlines the many Government services available for older people and their families has been launched.
27 January 2011- Grafton GP Super Clinic Moves Closer-The Grafton region is a step closer to getting a GP Super Clinic with the announcement that National Build Plan Group has won the contract to construct the new facility.
26 January 2011- Mental Health Minister Congratulates 2011 Local Hero of the Year-Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler congratulates suicide prevention advocate Donald Ritchie OAM for winning the Australia Day Local Hero of the Year award for 2011.
26 January 2011- Minister for Ageing Congratulates 2011 Senior Australian of the Year-Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler congratulates equal rights campaigner Professor Ron McCallum AO who received this year's Senior Australian of the Year award.
25 January 2011- Outgoing Senior Australian of the Year Recognised-The contribution of culinary icon and outgoing Senior Australian of the Year Maggie Beer has been recognised by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.
24 January 2011- Reduce your risk during Healthy Weight Week -Reduce your risk of chronic disease by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle is the key message coming out of Healthy Weight Week.
21 January 2011- Productivity Commission Draft Report on Aged Care-Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission's draft report 'Caring for Older Australians' which will provide the Australian Government with key advice on the direction of aged care.
20 January 2011- Changes to the PBS will help flood victims across Australia-The Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has announced the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listing of an important antibiotic will be extended, to increase the treatment options for people with skin infections caused by contact with contaminated flood water.
19 January 2011- Legionnaires' disease alert to travellers from Bali-Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, has issued an alert to travellers in Bali or who have recently returned, who experience 'flu-like' symptoms such as fever and cough to consult their GPs or hospital emergency departments.
18 January 2011- Latest National Teen Drug Usage Statistics Released -The National Drug Strategy Monograph: Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2008, has been released by the Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.
18 January 2011- Tribute to Australian Organ Donors-A record number of 309 deceased Australians donated their organs and tissue for transplant during 2010, drawing praise and gratitude from the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King.
14 January 2011- Minister Raises Dementia Awareness-Minister Raises Dementia Awareness
14 January 2011- States Pull Together to Help out Queensland-Additional state and territory and local government environmental health officers, mental health officers and health department officials will be sent to Queensland to assist the flood recovery effort following a meeting on 14 January of the Australian Health Protection Committee.
13 January 2011- Aged Care Information Line Takes One Millionth Call-Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler congratulated the staff of the Aged Care Information Line in recognition of the free service receiving its one millionth call.
13 January 2011- Ageing Support for Flood Affected Australians-Older Australians and aged care staff affected by unprecedented flooding in Queensland will be supported by the Labor Government under measures taken to ensure the safety and well being of people in residential and community care in flood affected areas.
13 January 2011- Health Assistance for Flood Affected Australians-Health Assistance for Flood Affected Australians.The Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has announced special short term emergency health arrangements for flood-affected areas, including the activation of the Health National Incident Room and special pharmacy arrangements.
13 January 2011- Mental Health Support for Flood Affected Australians-Australians experiencing mental ill health resulting from unprecedented flooding in Queensland will be able to access support through special measures announced by Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler on 13 January.
07 January 2011- Momentum Building around E-Health-Personally controlled electronic health records are a step closer with the closing of applications for the second round of lead implementation sites.
06 January 2011- Medicine Reforms Benefit Tasmanian Hospital Patients-Tasmanians prescribed lengthy courses of medicines at public hospitals will now be able to receive up to a month's supply without the need for a separate trip to a GP.
05 January 2011- New Year's Resolutions get a Helping Hand-New Year's resolutions to get active, eat well and quit smoking will be promoted throughout the year and beyond by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, which was formally established on 1 January 2011.
01 January 2011- Patients Benefit From New Medicines on the PBS -Australians suffering from a rare blood disorder will have access to a new life saving drug Soliris® through the Life Saving Drugs Program from 1 January under several changes to the PBS.
30 December 2010- $113m Mental Health Boost to Start 1 January-Hundreds of thousands of Australians with mental health problems will benefit from a $113.2 million boost in treatment and services from 1 January 2011
29 December 2010- New Directions for Improving Women's Health-Ensuring women have access to the right health care at the right time is a key objective of the Government's National Women's Health Policy 2010 released on 29 December.
23 December 2010- Mental Health Expert Advisory Group Established-A new expert advisory group on mental health will provide the Federal Government with advice on the important reforms needed in the mental health sector.
23 December 2010- Significant Step in Health Reform-Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon has announced that an important milestone in health reform had been achieved with six states and territories reaching agreement with the Commonwealth on the boundaries for Local Hospital Networks and Medicare Locals.
23 December 2010- Spare Some Time for Aged Neighbours this Festive Season-Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler has encouraged Australians to spare a thought for their elderly relatives and neighbours during the festive season.
22 December 2010- Cloning Legislative Review Committee Established-An independent committee has been established by the Australian Government to review cloning legislation.
20 December 2010- Boost to Australians fighting cancer-Cancer treatment and prevention continues to get top priority from the Australian Government, following two announcements totalling $22.6 million for high-priority cancer research projects and to extend clinical trials.
20 December 2010- Community consultation under way for Canberra's $15m GP Super Clinic-Local residents and health professionals have teamed up today to share ideas about the best options for a GP Super Clinic in the nation's capital.
20 December 2010- New CEO to continue Organ and Tissue Donation Reforms-Ms Yael Cass is to head up the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority from 5 February 2011.
20 December 2010- New Deputy Chair Appointed to Key Mental Health Advisory Group-South Australia's Social Inclusion Commissioner, Monsignor David Cappo, has been appointed deputy chairman of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health - a key strategic group providing specialist policy advice on mental health to the Australian Government.
17 December 2010- Tender Call Marks New Stage in e-health Development-The Australian Government's personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system took a further step forward today with the call for an organisation to evaluate the benefits and capabilities of the new system.
Private Health Insurance Circulars
Have your say about the proposed Aged Care Complaints Management Framework - The Department of Health and Ageing would like to hear from aged care consumers, providers, professional bodies and other stakeholders about proposed reforms to the Aged Care Complaint Scheme's complaints management framework. You are invited to make submissions by 22 March 2011. Find out more at the yourHealth website.
Comprehensive scoping study on the use of assistive technology by frail older people living in the community - This report is a systematic review of existing published and unpublished literature relating to assistive technology for frail older people in the community care context.
Australian Government Directory of Services for Older People 2011 - The Australian Government Directory of Services for Older People has been produced as a comprehensive guide to the wide range of services provided for older people by the Australian Government.
The 2008-09 Home and Community Care (HACC) Program Annual Report - This report presents consolidated information on the performance of the national HACC Program in 2008-09 across the states and territories, including against Key Performance Indicators. It also includes client case studies, funding information and a snapshot of HACC clients and services across the states and territories, and research projects undertaken in 2008-09.
Community Care Common Standards Guide - The Community Care Common Standards have been developed jointly by the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments as part of broader community care reforms to develop common arrangements that help to simplify and streamline the way community care is delivered.
National needle and syringe programs strategic framework 2010-2014 - This framework sets policy directions and identifies program goals to assist governments and administrators planning the future development of needle and syringe programs.
Implementation guidelines for non-government community services - Information to guide implementation of the national standards for mental health services by non-government community services.
Implementation guidelines for private office based mental health practices - Information to guide implementation of the national standards for mental health services by private office based mental health practices.
Implementation guidelines for public mental health services and private hospitals - Information to guide the implementation of the national standards for mental health services by public mental health services and private hospitals.
Information Sheets - Quality Care for Older Australians - Information Sheets concerning Residential Aged Care, Veterans and War Widow(er)s, Home and Community Care and the GST. 1 January 2011
Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Alteplase
Proposed amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 to implement the Biologicals Framework (added public submissions)
The Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS) for the regulation of biologicals (added public submissions)
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Rotigotine Vildagliptin/Metformin hydrochloride
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Denosumab - Melatonin - Sapropterin dihydrochloride
Risk management plans for prescription medicines (updated document)
GMP clearance for prescription medicines (updated)
Common technical document (updated)
National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods (updated membership details)
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Filgrastim - Nitisinone
Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines (updated meeting dates)
Advisory committees on medicines and chemicals scheduling (updated meeting dates)
Scheduling news (updated)
Transparency review of the TGA (updated Terms of Reference)
Advisory Committee on Medical Devices (updated meeting dates)
Therapeutic Goods Committee (updated meeting dates)
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Dutasteride - Dutasteride/Tamsulosin
Australia. Productivity Commission
Report on Government Services was released by the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision on 28 January 2011.
The Commission's draft inquiry report into Caring For Older Australians was released on 21 January 2011 for comment.
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
08 February 2011 - Medication Safety Update February 2011
17 December 2010 - Report on the National Medication Reconciliation Seminar
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
Cancer treatment found to be misleading - The Federal Court, Brisbane has found that Darryl Jones, principal of the Darryl Jones Health Res...Issued: 7th February 2011 Release # NR 026/11
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council
10 of the Best Research Projects 2010 - 09 FEBRUARY 2011 - The successes of the Australian Government's $700 million annual investment in health and medical research has been showcased in a new publication launched today by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler. The '10 of the Best Research Projects 2010' booklet profiles the work done by some of the country's leading researchers to improve health for all Australians. View Media Release - 10 of the Best Research Projects 2010
NHMRC proud to fund some of the world's best research - 03 FEBRUARY 2011 - NHMRC congratulates Australian universities for their strong performance in the first national review of Excellence in Research. Further Information
Assistance to Research and Practitioner Fellowship Applicants - 02 FEBRUARY 2011 - NHMRC acknowledges that the recent issue with RGMS has reduced access for applicants completing their NHMRC Research and Practitioner Fellowship applications. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and wish to advise of special arrangements that will take effect today. Further Information
Cyclone Yasi - notice to research community from CEO Warwick Anderson - 02 FEBRUARY 2011 - On behalf of the Council and staff of NHMRC, I offer best wishes and support to all researchers, staff and their families facing the impending threat of Cyclone Yasi. NHMRC acknowledges that the cyclone may represent further pressure for researchers, their team and families - who may already be affected by the flood crisis. Further Information
New Independent Committee to Assure Research Integrity - 01 FEBRUARY 2011 - Australian taxpayers can be confident the research activities they fund meet the highest ethical and moral standards thanks to the establishment of the Gillard Labor Government's Australian Research Integrity Committee. View Media Release
NHMRC congratulates Professor Don Bursill AM - 27 January 2011 - The NHMRC congratulates Professor Don Bursill AM being the 2011 South Australian Senior Australian of the Year. The NHMRC has enjoyed a long association with Professor Bursill through his research as an Australian Fellow, and his chairing of the NHMRC Water Quality Advisory Committee. Professor Bursill is an international leader and recognised expert in the field of water management and water quality. He has been at the forefront research and policy regarding potable water in Australia for the past 40 years.
Appointments to Australian Research Integrity Committee - 11 January 2011 - The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) have today announced the members of the Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC), a new independent body to ensure transparency and accountability in research. The ARIC is being jointly established by the ARC and NHMRC. - View Media Release
Global sharing of research data - 10 January 2011 - CEO of the NHMRC, Professor Warwick Anderson, is delighted to announce the NHMRC's support of an international commitment to enhancing access to public health research data. Further information
Consultation on new Deed of Agreement - 4 January 2011 - Following consultation with NHMRC Administering Institutions and the Australian Government Solicitor, NHMRC has consolidated all Deeds of Agreement into one Funding Agreement. All new funding awards will now be subject to the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement has been developed to align with Commonwealth Grants Guidelines, which provide a policy and reporting framework for agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. Download: NHMRC Funding Agreement (PDF, 200KB)
Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council
11/04 17 January 11 Updated phiac1 validation now available on PHIAC website CURRENT EDITION 11/04
11/03 17 January 11 Fluctuation in Risk Equalisation - December quarter 2010 and March quarter 2011 CURRENT EDITION 11/03
11/02 06 January 11 Updated Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority CURRENT EDITION 11/02
11/01 06 January 11 - Capital Adequacy Standard – Market Yield Rate December 2010 - CURRENT EDITION 11/01
10/23 17 December 10 Disclosure Standard Education Video CURRENT EDITION 10/23
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