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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Attempts to restrict paracetamol miss the mark, says Painaustralia

Health Industry Hub | November 14, 2022 |

Pharma News: The latest attempts by the Federal Government to restrict paracetamol are well-intended but will disadvantage many thousands of low income and rural and remote Australians who need pain medicines, according to Painaustralia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is meeting this week to explore whether there should be new limits placed on the purchase of painkillers. The recommendations they are considering is to restrict sales to those under 18 years-old, and also enforce a two-pack limit per purchase. They will also explore reducing the size of paracetamol packets sold in stores.

This push is the result of an independent report published by the TGA which found that intentional paracetamol overdose is on the rise, with women and girls most susceptible.

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 stated “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 added “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.

She added “Instead of making life harder for the thousands of Australians who live with invisible pain every single day, how about the Federal Government look holistically 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.

“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.”


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