60 DAY DISPENSING - A BENEFIT OR THE NEW TOILET PAPER CRISIS
27 April 2023
The government yesterday announced a budget savings measure that some medications will be available for 60 days’ supply purchase at once, rather than the current standard 30 days.
For someone living on long term daily medications they would welcome any savings and supply relief, however, will the change benefit consumers or will it be like toilet paper during the pandemic? Some getting more and others missing out. How will the government guarantee supply?
“From the consumer’s perspective, those who rely on medicines, I hope this is not another toilet paper crisis, where some have plenty and others not enough”, CEO of Painaustralia, Giulia Jones said.
“This is news that people living with chronic pain can see the benefit of, however, the devil as always will be in the detail.”
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.”
Today’s interim decision by the TGA delegate not to recommend the upscheduling of paracetamol and to not restrict purchases based on age is a sensible decision for consumers who live with chronic pain, said Painaustralia CEO Giulia Jones.
“Painaustralia’s concerns about the detrimental impacts limiting paracetamol access to people who live with chronic pain and rely on paracetamol to self-manage their day to day lives have been taken seriously by the delegate,” she said.
“If the original proposals had been accepted, people in chronic pain would have been significantly detrimentally affected, having to pay more and go to the doctor more often.
“Life would have been much harder for those on low incomes, in regional and rural areas who work to self-manage their pain without the same access that people in the cities and with higher incomes can afford.”
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.”
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.”
ELDERLY RESIDENTS TO MISS OUT ON FUNDING FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT
Aged Care residents to suffer more pain, pushed towards more medications if new funding model isn’t reversed
7 September 2022
Painaustralia, the peak advocacy group for the one in five Australians who suffer from chronic pain, is urging the new Albanese Government to ensure residents in aged care homes are not robbed of funding for physiotherapy services.
Before losing office, the previous government announced funding for people in aged care facilities for physiotherapy would be cut from October 1 2022, under the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model.
Painaustralia CEO Giulia Jones said physiotherapy services were vital in aged care facilities where 80 per cent residents live with chronic pain.
“63 per cent receive pain management care from healthcare professions, including physiotherapists, at least once per week. These residents will no longer be able to receive this care from October 1 due to the funding change,” Ms Jones said, who has written to the new Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, appealing for the funding to be continued.
MENTAL ILLNESS AND CHRONIC PAIN: A LETHAL COCKTAIL FOR OUR DEFENCE AND VETERAN PERSONNEL
31 August 2022
Mental illness and chronic pain: a lethal cocktail for our defence and veteran personnel
Painaustralia, the peak advocacy group for the one-in-five Australians suffering from chronic pain, has told the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide that chronic pain and mental illness together are a lethal cocktail for military personnel and veterans.
In its submission to the Royal Commission, Painaustralia points out the intractable link between chronic pain and mental illness and suicidal behaviours.
Painaustralia CEO Giulia Jones said we know that there is higher risk of suicide when people live with both mental illness and chronic pain and it is no different in the military and veteran population.
Painaustralia’s submission includes new research conducted by Monash University which undertook a meta analysis of the research into the link between chronic pain and suicidal behaviour in military and veteran populations.
“The research shows serving military personnel and veterans have a higher incidence of chronic pain and depression than the general population, and that means they are at much greater risk of this ‘lethal cocktail’,” Ms Jones said.
NATIONAL PAIN WEEK – AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO TALK ABOUT PAIN
28 July 2022
Painaustralia, the peak lobby group for the 1 in 5 people suffering from chronic pain, believes Australia needs to have a conversation about pain.
The Chief Executive Officer of Pain Australia, Giulia Jones, says that pain needs to be looked at—not just as something that’s associated with other medical conditions, but a condition IN and OF itself.
“We all think we know what pain is about, but do we?
“The most recent research from around the world indicates that just prescribing medication is not the whole answer, that there is a need for a much more holistic approach.
“There’s much more to proper pain management that just which medicine to prescribe. It is about people reengaging with life, living with pain and moving life forward despite the pain while managing it as well as possible.”
ACCESS TO CHRONIC PAIN TREATMENT FOR AGED CARE RESIDENTS UNCLEAR
27 JULY 2022
The Albanese Government is being urged to prioritise allied health care including high-quality physiotherapy available for residents of aged care living with chronic pain.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and Painaustralia are seeking to work with the Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, to ensure aged care residents continue to receive pain management care such as physiotherapy when funding reforms are introduced on 1 October 2022.
Of the 80 per cent of aged care residents living with chronic pain, 63 per cent receive pain management care from healthcare professions, including physiotherapists, at least once per week.
It is unclear how this critical care will continue to be provided under the new Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model.
RIGHT NOW, WOMEN IN AUSTRALIA ARE MORE LIKELY TO LIVE WITH PHYSICAL PAIN IMPACTING ON THEIR ABIILITY TO WORK
20 JUNE 2022
New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistic show that women in Australia are more likely than men to experience physical pain that impacts on their ability to work.
The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Painaustralia, Mrs Giulia Jones, said this was the central finding of the ABS report. ‘Stressors and bodily pain”.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report found that:
• 73.9% of women aged 18 years and over experienced bodily pain compared to 68.2% of men
• 63.2% of women aged 18-24 years experienced bodily pain compared to 47.8% of men
• 66.1% of women aged 18 years and over experienced interference with work compared to 58.4% of men.
Painaustralia is pleased to announce the appointment of former member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, Mrs Giulia Jones, as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Announcing her appointment on behalf of the Board, Painaustralia Chairman Duncan Lewis welcomed Mrs Jones, congratulated her on her appointment, and noted Mrs Jones joins Painaustralia after a long career in politics and communications.
Most recently Mrs Jones has served for nine years in the ACT Legislative Assembly, including time as the Deputy leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Multicultural Affairs. Mrs Jones starts her new position today.
Australia is the first country to have a National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management
18 MAY 2021
In a world-first, Australia now has a National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management (The Action Plan) which will provide real impetus and practical support for the 3.4 million Australians living with chronic pain said Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett welcoming today’s launch by Health Minister Greg Hunt.
“The National Strategic Action Plan is a critical step towards improving the quality of life for the millions of Australians who live with chronic pain and every day face the challenges of accessing affordable and specialised pain treatment,” said Ms Bennett.
“We thank Minister Hunt for his support of the Action Plan and launching it at today’s Painaustralia’s Parliamentary Friends of Pain Management Group event.
“The Action Plan, which is now endorsed by all Australian governments, provides a pathway to improved pain awareness, support and treatment for people living with chronic pain.
“Hopefully, with the Action Plan now in place and supported by all governments, it will provide the priority that those who live in chronic pain need.”
A new compass guiding people on their pain journey
18 MAY 2021
People who live with chronic pain will now find it easier to find alternative holistic treatments with the launch today of the new look and improved National Pain Services Directory.
The updated directory was made possible by funding from the Australian Government and was launched by Senator Wendy Askew at the Parliamentary Friends of Pain Management Group event at the Capital Pain and Rehabilitation Clinic in Deakin which is celebrating 20 years of service to the Canberra community.
“The directory provides a comprehensive list of more than 200 pain clinics who treat all types of pain conditions and can help consumers and GPs to find help from every region across Australia,” Senator Askew said.
Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett said the National Pain Services Directory was a practical resource tool not only used by consumers but also by GPs and other health professionals who are looking for evidence based, holistic treatments.
“The updated directory has sophisticated search functionality which enables people to find a clinic in their own state and territory, related to specific pain conditions, a public or private facility, and geographical location with a ‘use my location’ button that is highly accurate and can pinpoint services directly to where someone lives or works,” she said.
Painaustralia appoints Major General Duncan Lewis as new Chair
18 MARCH 2021
Painaustralia is pleased to announce today’s appointment of Major General Duncan Lewis AO, DSC, CSC as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Major General Lewis is a former Australian military officer, Secretary of the Department of Defence, diplomat and intelligence chief and from 2014 to 2019 was the Director-General of Security and head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
Prior to that appointment, he held the post of Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
He is a retired Australian Army officer, and formerly Special Operations Commander Australia (2002–2004) and National Security Adviser.
Major General Lewis said it was a great privilege to take up the position of Chair of Painaustralia which this year is celebrating 10 years advocating on behalf of people who live with chronic pain.
“This is a critical time as we finally have a national approach to pain management in Australia with today’s important announcement that all Australian governments have endorsed the National Strategic Action Plan,” he said.
Consumer input into medicine and device approval processes urgently needed
26 MARCH 2021
Painaustralia has today called for meaningful and greater input for consumers as part of the approval processes for new devices and medicines in Australia.
Appearing at the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport - Approval processes for new drugs and novel medical technologies in Australia, Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett said there must be a better way to consult consumers throughout the regulatory process as the current processes are leaving consumers disappointed and bereft of hope.
“Consumer input needs to be considered, valued and adopted when making decisions that have a real impact on the quality of life of those living with pain and other health conditions,” she said.
Over-the-counter medicinal cannabis a step toward better pain management
16 DECEMBER 2020
Painaustralia has welcomed the announcement by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to down-schedule cannabidiol (CBD) and enable the availability of low-dose CBD over-the-counter (OTC) in pharmacies.
CEO of Painaustralia, Carol Bennett, said changes that provide more accessible and affordable pain management options are necessary. “While the number of people living with pain in Australia rises, there will still be significant gaps in access to, and understanding of, best practice holistic pain management. With the recent restrictions applied to opioids in Australia making pharmacological pain treatments less accessible, the schedule 3 listing of CBD and ready availability in pharmacies will add another drug to the list of available treatments. The major missing piece of the puzzle remains access to effective multidisciplinary treatment, but this move to make low dose medicinal cannabis available over the counter is a welcome increase in options available to people experiencing pain.”
Chronic pain – a critical factor in addressing mental health
17 NOVEMNER 2020
The release of the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Mental Health has again highlighted the fundamental need for a shift towards well targeted and innovative solutions to reach those who fall through the cracks of mental health services, including the 3.37 million Australians living with chronic pain.
‘We have seen unprecedented levels of spending on mental health in the past few years, with an increase in the burden of disease and costs of mental health problems. If we are to change this trajectory, we must look to find new solutions to old problems that continue to rise exponentially despite record investments,’ said Painaustralia CEO, Carol Bennett.
Painaustralia welcomes Tara Moss as newest Pain Champion
06 October 2020
Tara Moss has been announced as the latest Pain Champion for Painaustralia, joining the mission to improve the quality of life of people living with pain, their families and carers.
The announcement was made at an event held today by the Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Mrs Hurley, to formally launch Painaustralia’s Parliamentary Friends of Pain Management Group.
Tara Moss is an award-winning author, documentary producer, host and advocate. Since 1999 Tara has written 13 bestselling books, published in 19 countries and 13 languages. She is the winner of an Edna Ryan award and in 2017 was recognised as one of the Global Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life, for using her position in public life to make a positive impact in diversity.
Pain in the Aged Care Sector detected with innovative App
21 September 2020
An innovative technology that uses facial recognition technology to assess and score pain levels in real time has been used to assess pain for aged care residents during the pandemic, leading the Federal Government to extend its funding period.
PainChek® is a clinically validated mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to assess micro-expressions in a person’s face and identify the presence and severity of pain in minutes and from up to a three-meter distance.
The Federal Government-funded national trial of PainChek in Australian residential aged care commenced just as the pandemic took hold, helping aged care staff detect and manage pain in residents with conditions such as dementia, who find it difficult to communicate.