The Health News Australia November 11 2017

  • A shortage of life-saving EpiPen devices for young children has seen experts recommend the use of out-of-date stock or devices containing adult doses to treat severe allergic reactions. Across Australia, pharmacists are experiencing a short-term shortage of EpiPen Junior devices. The shortage means it is not possible for parents and carers to buy replacements for expired devices or those due to expire during November.
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration has denied it is too close to the medical industry or that receiving funding from health and medical companies is a conflict of interest, after its independence was questioned by health experts. Doctor Wendy Bonython from the University of Canberra’s Health Research Institute told Fairfax Media that the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s industry funded model of regulation needed a complete overhaul, including “a clear break between the regulator and the parties they’re trying to regulate”.
  • A residential rehabilitation service called the Foundation of Rehabilitation with Aboriginal Alcohol Related Difficulties (FORWAARD) is one of a range of services aimed at tackling the Northern Territory’s alcohol problems, but the recent review to the Territory’s liquor policies found there was a lack of clarity around what types of help are available and what is working. The Riley review stopped short of making recommendations about what services should be funded and where, instead recommending that the Government undertake a “demand study” to clarify what is needed and map existing services in order to identify gaps.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 11th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-11-09/epipen-shortage-pharmacists-recommend-out-of-date-anaphylaxis/9135106

A shortage of life-saving EpiPen devices for young children has seen experts recommend the  use of out-of-date stock or devices containing adult doses to treat severe allergic reactions.
Across the country, pharmacists are experiencing a short-term shortage of EpiPen Junior devices – adrenaline auto-injectors used to treat life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis that can prevent death and brain damage. The shortage means it is not possible for parents and carers to buy replacements for expired devices or those due to expire during November.
In a statement, Mylan Australia, which distributes the EpiPen products, said the shortage was due to a delay in supply from the overseas manufacturer. To bridge the gap, the company is offering eligible patients a free EpiPen Jr, but those devices will expire on November thirty.
Pharmacists and allergy specialists say there are other options available for those whose auto-injectors have expired.
…..
Professor Katie Allen, a paediatric allergist based at Murdoch Institute, said there was no harm in using expired EpiPens. She added:  “The issue about an expired EpiPen is that the adrenaline’s efficiency is decaying with time. ”  Professor Allen said children weighing more than twenty  kilograms were also able to use three hundred microgram or adult-dose EpiPens.
….
Stock of the EpiPen Jr product, which is recommended for people weighing ten to twenty kilograms, is expected to be available again in mid to late November.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/nov/08/therapeutic-goods-administration-rejects-claims-it-is-too-close-to-medical-industry

Australia’s drugs and medical devices watchdog has denied it is too close to the industry or that receiving funding from health and medical companies is a conflict of interest, after its independence was questioned by health experts. On Monday Doctor Wendy Bonython from the University of Canberra’s Health Research Institute told Fairfax Media that the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s industry funded model of regulation needed a complete overhaul, including “a clear break between the regulator and the parties they’re trying to regulate”.
Bonython said accepting fees from industry was unacceptable in the wake of the transvaginal mesh scandal that saw the TGA approve meshes for use in treating prolapse despite a lack of evidence for the safety and efficacy of the products. Thousands of women who received the meshes have reported complications including severe pain and damage to nerves and nearby organs, including the bladder and bowel.

On Tuesday Ken Harvey, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at Monash University, criticised a decision by the TGA to allow a supplement company to promote a herbal remedy as helpful in relieving the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Harvey told Guardian Australia it was “another example of them [the TGA] being very helpful to industry while being ineffective from a consumer protection point of view”.
….
In October last year the TGA announced it was reclassifying transvaginal meshes as “high risk” following post-market reviews conducted in two thousand ten and two thousand thirteen, and that this new classification and additional regulations around the devices would commence in December next year with a staged transition period. From July two thousand twelve to June one, two thousand sixteen, the TGA received ninety nine adverse events reports involving urogynaecological surgical meshes, with pain and erosion the most frequent complaints. The TGA acknowledged adverse events were likely underreported.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-10/darwin-alcohol-rehab-service-celebrates-50-years/9135672

She’s celebrating fifty years since Darwin’s oldest alcohol rehabilitation service started, but Kathy Mills wants to see it closed down. Missis Mills was part of a group of women who banded together in nineteen sixty seven to support people in Darwin living rough and battling with grog “because there was no help”.
….
A residential rehabilitation service called the Foundation of Rehabilitation with Aboriginal Alcohol Related Difficulties (FORWAARD) stands in the same spot. It is one of a range of services aimed at tackling the Northern Territory’s alcohol problems, but the recent review to the Territory’s liquor policies found there was a lack of clarity around what types of help are available and what is working. The Riley review stopped short of making recommendations about what services should be funded and where, instead recommending that the Government undertake a “demand study” to clarify what is needed and map existing services in order to identify gaps. The Primary Health Network is conducting the study and will report back next year, while services like FORWAARD keep up the daily effort to help people kick the addiction.

At the organisation’s family open day there is cake and a sausage sizzle, and visitors for the clients undergoing three months of rehab.Alex Godfrey, twenty four, is celebrating his successful completion of the program after stopping halfway through a first attempt last year.
He says he wants other people struggling with dependence or addiction not to be discouraged by relapse and missteps. The Riley review noted a need for better aftercare services across the NT, saying it was “of particular concern”.

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