News in brief: PBS listing for PCSK9 inhibitor; ATAGI recommends Pfizer vaccine for children with cardiac conditions; Cardiologist blames overwork for viewing child abuse images


PBS listing for PCSK9 inhibitor

The PCSK9 inhibitor alirocumab (Praluent) has been listed on the PBS from 1 August for treatment of adults with Non-Familial and Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia.

The injection is available on the PBS for patients with Non-Familial Hypercholesterolaemia who have symptomatic atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), additional high-risk factors and LDL-C above 2.6 mmol/L despite the maximum tolerated dose of a statin and ezetimibe for more than12 weeks.

Alirocumab is also available for  patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia with symptomatic ASCVD and LDL-C above 2.6 mmol/L, or without symptomatic ASCVD and LDL-C above 5 mmol/L despite the maximum tolerated dose of a statin and ezetimibe for more than 12 weeks.

According to sponsor Sanofi, alirocumab  has been shown to lower LDL-C by more than 50% on top of optimised statin with or without other lipid-lowering therapy, and to reduce the risk of repeat events in patients with a recent history of ACS and LDL-C that remains above the guideline recommended target of 1.8mmol/L.


ATAGI recommends Pfizer vaccine for children with cardiac conditions;

Children aged 12–15 with cardiac and circulatory congenital anomalies are among the high risk groups for COVID-19 that should prioritised for vaccination using the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine, according to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)

Following the recent TGA approval of Pfizer vaccine to be extended from people aged 16 years and over to include children aged 12–15 years, ATAGI has recommended that children with specified medical conditions should be first to receive the vaccine, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children living in remote communities.

However in its advice, ATAGI also recognises that myocarditis and/or pericarditis in have recently been reported overseas in adolescents aged 12 and older and in adults, following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines including Comirnaty.

It said the risk of these conditions appears higher in adolescents compared to adults, and that follow up is ongoing to understand the potential longer-term implications of myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination.


Cardiologist blames overwork for viewing child abuse images

A former Adelaide cardiologist who pleaded guilty to accessing and possessing child abuse material has ascribed his behaviour to stress from overwork.

Lawyers for Andrew Douglas McGavigan told the SA District Court that at the time he downloaded images he was suffering from untreated depression, overwork, sleep deprivation and significant personal and work stressors” from his role as a cardiologist at Flinders Medical Centre.

His lawyer said the motivation for viewing the images was escapism, rather than sexual arousal, according to the ABC.

The cardiologist has been deregistered from medical practice and his career was effectively over, the court was told. A hearing on sentencing is expected later this month.

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