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Timeline of the australian hPH program

1967 – 1985

Under the AHPHP about 1570 women were treated for infertility, about 60 men for infertility and about 660 children were treated for short stature.

1988 – 1991

Deaths of five former recipients. Three women treated for infertility where CJD was confirmed by autopsy, one woman treated for infertility where no post mortem was conducted and one man treated with growth hormone where no post mortem was conducted. Details


As a result of public attention drawn to the first two deaths, the Commonwealth begins tracing recipients and notifying them of their risk of CJD.


  • The Commonwealth commissions Associate Professor Margaret Allars to conduct an inquiry into the use of pituitary derived hormones in Australia and CJD.
  • In the interest of public health the Commonwealth releases identifying data to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and some organ collection agencies. Recipients are not informed that their details have been released.
  • Writs are issued by the families of the deceased recipients. Some surviving recipients begin legal action for “nervous shock”.
  • The Commonwealth Health Department uses the Consumer’s Health Forum to organise a meeting of selected recipients in Canberra with a view to establishing support groups.


  • Following the 1993 meeting, funding was provided by the Commonwealth Health Department to establish a support group for recipients of hPH known as the CJD Support Group Network Inc (CJDSGNI).
  • The then Minister for Health, Carmen Lawrence, releases a package of funding for services to recipients.
  • The Commonwealth settles the claims by the families of the deceased. Because death occurred before the claims were made, no compensation is paid for pain and suffering.


  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) releases Infection Control Guidelines for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs).
  • The National Pituitary Hormones Advisory Council (NPHAC) meets for the first time.


The test case in the Victorian Supreme Court for (nervous shock), psychiatric injury due to exposure to the risk of CJD is settled out of court.


An inquiry into the fairness of the CJD settlement is held by a Senate Committee. Details


A one-off ex-gratia payment scheme is set up by the Commonwealth for recipients who prove psychiatric injury resulting from anxiety about their risk of CJD.


World Health Organisation (WHO) Infection Control Guidelines released.


The Australian Red Cross Blood Service Lifelink, wrote to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) advising that the list of recipients that was provided to Organ Donor Coordinators in 1993 had been withdrawn. Lifelink advised that recipients may register as an organ donor but should specify on their registration form either that they are recipient of hPH or that they wish to register as an “organ only” donor.


  • Revised Infection Control Guidelines released.
  • Support group restructured and now known as the CJD Support Group Network. New committee appointed including a representative of hGH recipients.


Inaugural CJD Support Group Fundraising Dinner held in Sydney in November.