As we approach the end of the year and the holiday season, there are no signs of slowing here at Painaustralia.
On 12 November we held our first meeting of the Parliamentary Friends of Pain Management Group to host a discussion about medicinal cannabis for chronic pain. As part of this event, we prepared a briefing document for the Parliamentary Friends that outlined our position on medicinal cannabis on behalf of Australians living with chronic pain..
Painaustralia believes all Australians with chronic pain should have access to the best possible treatment options and care as determined together with their clinician. This may include medicinal cannabis if patients and clinicians believe that it may provide benefit.
Many in our community are calling for access to medicinal cannabis and we hear the frustration regarding the barriers to prescribing for chronic pain. For many, the costs are high, and for health professionals, the limited evidence base leads to confusion around where it’s appropriate to prescribe. Together, this results in hurdles that patients must jump over in order to gain access.
We are calling on the industry to do more to fund larger, high-quality clinical trials, including here in Australia, to improve this evidence base, which is essential to facilitate patient access.
You can read more about the meeting of the Parliamentary Friends group in this newsletter, along with a link to the event recording.
Throughout November we have been encouraging consumer discussions and stories on our social media channels as part of the #mypainjourney campaign. While it has been wonderful to see people open up about their experiences and share support with others, the stories we are hearing are further evidence of the urgent need to improve pain management services and access in Australia. Too often, pain is not managed appropriately due to access issues, costs and a lack of understanding of pain and how to manage it.
Painaustralia is striving to find solutions to these problems, through advocacy to government and communication with consumers and health professionals to build the understanding of pain in Australia. However, we cannot do it alone. The support we receive from our members is invaluable and we are looking to build and grow our network of organisations that care and are committed to improving the lives of people living with pain. You can find out more about Painaustralia membership here.
It was also a busy period for our policy team, with input to senate inquiries, a Medical Research Future Fund consultation as well as other national submissions to inform the work of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.