The issue of the TGA trying to make it harder to buy paracetamol is not resolved yet, particularly for those in chronic pain on low incomes, living rurally or who are already marginalised.
Early last month the TGA’s Delegate made an interim decision not to up schedule modified release paracetamol, however they did recommend a reduction in the size of packs available in supermarkets which will impact those who rely on supermarkets for their pain relief.
“Painaustralia is very concerned that this pack size reduction will lead to an increase in the per tablet cost, hitting the lowest income and most rural people in pain the hardest,” Ms Jones said.
“For the 3.4 million people in Australia living with chronic pain, day in and day out, paracetamol can be a recommended management option which is affordable and accessible, while other treatments are out of reach for so many. Moving to allow packs of only 16, which is the TGA recommendation, will last only for two days for most consumers in this situation.”
Painaustralia has made a submission to the TGA’s renewed round of consultation, on the interim decision making this point very clear.
Our submission says:
While Painaustralia supports the sensible recommendation to not upschedule paracetamol, place age restrictions to purchase or to limit the number of packets that can be bought at a supermarket or pharmacy, we are disappointed by the decision to reduce the available pack sizes of paracetamol available to Australians living with pain.
Ms Jones said the interim decision recommending not to upschedule modified release paracetamol is particularly sensible as the nation faces a GP access crisis, compounding the problems people in pain face and we hope the TGA takes the delegate’s advice on this matter. However, the recommendation to reduce pack sizes if accepted is going to come at a cost to those who can least afford this change.
“On every bus, in every office and across every suburb of Australia pain does not discriminate. One in five Australians over 25 live with pain. These people already cannot afford other treatments and now the little that they do have to get relief could become harder to get.” she said.