Painaustralia is Australia’s leading pain advocacy body working to improve the quality of life of people living with pain, their families and carers,
and to minimise the social and economic burden of pain on individuals and the community.
Paracetamol Review Submission
3.4 million Australians live in pain every single day and rely on medications like paracetamol just to get by. The proposed restrictionsto paracetamol use are well intended but missed the mark and will further alienate an already struggling group.
Painaustralia is working to ensure you have the access to the medicines you need without it costing more and causing you more distress to obtain it.
Painaustralia has worked closely with the NSW Government to develop a video to help provide consumers with information about the SafeScript NSW real time prescription program and how it can benefit you. RTPM is a computer system that provides pharmacists and prescribers with medicine history information about a consumer’s use of monitored drugs (for example, diazepam and tramadol). If implemented well this system can help consumers to better use and understand the medications they are taking and encourage conversations between health professionals and consumers. Painaustralia has worked with the NSW Government to develop sensitive and respectful messaging for prescribers and dispensers when talking to consumers about their medications.
Poisons Standard Submission
Painaustralia lodged a submission to the TGA's Proposed amendments to the Poisons Standard.
Painaustralia recommends a targeted education and awareness campaign around quality use of Ibuprofen. Read more here.
National Medicines Policy submission
This week Painaustralia lodged a submission to the Department of Health’s consultation into the Revised Draft of the National Medicines Policy.
Our submission highlights the need for the consumer voice to be included in every decision-making process and that access to pain management is a fundamental human right. Read more here.
Chronic Pain in our Defence & Veteran Personnel
This week Painaustralia lodged its submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Our submission shows that mental illness and chronic pain is a dangerous combination for our defence and veteran personnel, increasing the risk of suicidal behaviours. See our media release below and to read our submission click here.
Our Latest Media Release
TGA TRYING TO TAKE PARACETAMOL ACCESS AWAY
14 November 2022
The latest attempts by the Federal Government to restrict paracetamol are well-intended but miss the mark and will leave many thousands of low income and rural and remote Australians who need pain medicines, disadvantaged.
Painaustralia, the peak lobby group for the 1 in 5 people suffering from chronic pain, has today released its submission to the TGA regarding proposals to limit access to paracetamol in Australia.
In the submission, Painaustralia states “mental health is not an issue that can be solved with a single regulatory sledgehammer. It needs a nuanced, balanced and practical approach that mitigates unintended consequences and guards against perverse outcomes of regulatory changes to ensure the best healthcare for all, including those living with chronic pain”.
Painaustralia CEO Giulia Jones said “3.4 million Australians live in pain every single day and rely on medications like paracetamol just to get by”.
“Mums trying to take their children to school, young women with chronic pelvic pain, people with early onset arthritis, dads with back pain deserve to be able to buy a fortnight supply of paracetamol on payday,” she said.
“The perverse unintended consequences of the suggested proposals for smaller packs, purchase limits and age restrictions is that those with the least income and the youngest will be hit the hardest, including in remote and rural areas where popping down to the shop is just not possible.”
Ms Jones said less than two years ago the TGA restricted access to slow-release paracetamol to behind the counter at pharmacies and now its review wants people who are safely using this medicine to have to visit the GP for a script, every time they need a pack, increasing cost and distress.
“Instead of making life harder for the thousands of Australians who live with invisible pain every single day, how about the Federal Government look wholistically at the issue of young women who use paracetamol for self-harm and offer them genuine support such as follow-up psychological treatment and counselling,” she said.
“What we need is proper health care for young women. The Minister for Mental Health, Emma McBride, would be excellent at addressing the issue of mental health in young women rather than a regulatory body whose job is to approve medicines and vaccines.”
“The review carried out by the TGA into this issue was conducted without the assistance of consumers who live with constant pain and we urge the Minister for Health to include consumers properly so that solutions to address harm from paracetamol do not further alienate and target an already struggling group.”
Media enquiries please contact Giulia Jones on 0439 958 298
AUSTRALIANS IN CHRONIC PAIN SHOULD NOT BE IGNORED
30 September 2022
The Albanese Government has been put on notice that Australia’s peak advocacy group for people living with chronic pain will not relent in its call to repair the damage done during the botched roll out of changes to the prescribing of opioids.
Painaustralia Chief Executive Officer, Giulia Jones, has written to the Minister for Health, Mark Butler, insisting the opioid restrictions rolled out in June 2020 have left large numbers of people living with chronic pain alienated, and without the offer of alternative treatments.
“We understand these restrictions were not introduced by Minister Butler. We accept opioid usage was rising significantly, and action needed to be taken,” Ms Jones said.
“But the fact is, the implementation of the new restrictions was poorly handled, and Minister Butler can and must fix it. Australians in pain deserve this from their new government.”
Painaustralia’s plea to the Federal Government is supported by Professor Paul Glare, one of Australia’s leading pain management researchers and clinicians and a director of the Pain Foundation.
“People who have been on long-term opioids often for decades need special consideration,” he said. “The experience overseas is that there have been real harms resulting from the unintended consequences of heavy-handed implementation of these kinds of policies.
“I have been seeing them – patients buying heroin when their pain medications have been suddenly cut off by the authorities and unnecessary hospital admissions – in my clinical practice.”
In July, overwhelmed by appeals from those living in chronic pain, Painaustralia wrote to the Minister for Health appealing for an urgent, independent review of how the opioid restrictions were rolled out, sighting many consumers were distressed at forced tapering or sudden withdrawal.
“In short, large numbers of Australians who have a legitimate need for opioids have been left in pain, forced off the medication they needed and with no alternative offered by GPs,” Ms Jones said.
In response to that letter, the Health Minister confirmed an internal and standard review of the restrictions would be conducted 24 months after the changes were introduced, undertaken by the TGA, not an independent body.
While Painaustralia welcomes this review, it will not solve the problem.
“A standard review will find opioid usage has fallen, and from that conclude that the new regime has been successful, but this will be of no benefit to the legitimate users who’ve lost access to their medication or who have not been offered alternatives in the process,” Ms Jones said.
“While opioids needed to be restricted for some users, at every point in the lead up to these changes, Painaustralia warned the then Federal Government to include options for alternative treatments at the point of offering to withdraw or taper individuals off opioids and this has not transpired.”
Professor Glare has studied alternative methods and found pain self-management programs are the optimal way to taper opioid dependency.
“Our research has clearly shown that patients need clinical-based assistance and information to help them transition from opioids to other pain management techniques but access to new programs is very limited in Australia,” he said.
Painaustralia is calling on the Minister for Health to implement a new and positive reset for the 1 in 5 Australians living with chronic pain for easy access to alternative treatments.
Painaustralia has made two recommendations to Minister Butler that would ensure people living with chronic pain do not continue to be disadvantaged under the opioid restrictions. These are:
An informative education campaign with embedded incentivisation for GPs to learn and be able to refer consumers to the various elements of multi-disciplinary pain management in the primary and community setting.
MBS Item numbers for pain management treatment including Chronic Pain Care Plans by GP, telehealth for multidisciplinary pain management teams in a primary care setting, pain educators in community care and GP clinics, and improved access to some specialist procedures.
Media enquiries please contact Giulia Jones on 0439 958 298
OUR CEO TALKS
Painaustralia CEO, Giulia Jones, speaks with Daniel Oyston on the Pharmacy Business & Career Network Podcast about understanding pain.
Giulia talks about what pain is, how it affects people living with chronic pain, and the role pharmacists working in the community can play to help them live better, fuller lives.
Click on the image to listen.
Australia’s first national care standard for low back pain was released today by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The new standard provides a road map for healthcare practitioners to help patients manage low back pain episodes early and reduce their chance of ongoing problems. Painaustralia’s Mary-Lynne Cochrane was part of the working group that helped to develop the standard.
Click on the image to go to the website.
Impact of opioid regulatory reforms on people living with chronic pain survey report