In today’s talking points Fewer Australians are dying from hepatitis C but thousands are still missing out on treatment,The true cost of staying healthy in Australia revealed, FDA recalls are a reminder that China controls much of world’s drug supply, Centrelink new robodebt trial bypasses previous safeguard for mentally ill
Fewer Australians are dying from hepatitis C, but thousands are still missing out on treatment
According to preliminary data released on Monday from the Kirby Institute, the number of Australians dying from liver failure and liver cancer related to hepatitis C has dropped by 20% in just 2 years. This has been attributed to the introduction of a highly-effective, low-cost treatment to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in 2016. The data also showed that the amount of people with a hepatitis C infection who currently inject drugs declined from 43% in 2015 to 25% in 2017. Even though the effectiveness of the medication is improving, there is still only a treatment rate of 30% for people suffering from hepatitis C. Despite this, Australia was in a good position to meet World Health Organisation elimination targets — to reduce hepatitis C deaths by 65 per cent and new infections by 80 per cent before 2030.
The true cost of staying healthy in Australia revealed
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released findings today which challenge assurances bulk-billing rates are growing.
According to the study, Medicare is fast failing to cover the costs of most doctors’ services with some patients having to pay more than $600 extra a year to stay healthy. In 2016—17, 86 per cent of GP services were bulk-billed while 66 per cent of patients had every GP service bulk-billed.
The study found that nationally in 2016‒17, 10.9 million patients paid something from their own pockets toward their services. This differs from the usually reported bulk-billing rate for GP services, those completely paid for by the government.
FDA recalls are a reminder that China controls much of world’s drug supply
The Food and Drug Administration in the U.S has recalled a number of batches of the common blood pressure drug, Valsartan. These batches are reported to have been contaminated with NDMA, a carcinogenic chemical.
It becomes a challenge when a significant supply of the world’s drugs are outsourced from countries such as China and India, where the inspection of manufacturing standards are beyond the control of the importing country.
By undercutting prices and grabbing market share from other countries, China has succeeded in developing its pharmaceuticals industry.
“Food has been used as a weapon of war. Our medicines can be used like that, too,” said a health care expert, Rosemary Gibson.
Centrelink new robodebt trial bypasses previous safeguard for mentally ill
Centrelink is trialling an automated debt recovery system that will bypass safeguards that are set in order to product those with mental illness, addiction or cognitive impairment.
A vulnerability indicator is used to identify which welfare recipients will have the safeguard applied to them. Some responses to the trial raise that the trial could exacerbate the circumstances of those who are in difficulty.
At present, the plans to trial the system have been suspended until the original objectives are assessed.
Source: The Guardian