News in brief: PBS listing of inhaled triple therapy for COPD; World’s top 4 respiratory specialist hospitals; AMA ‘secession’ move slammed;


PBS listing of inhaled triple therapy for COPD

Breztri Aerosphere (budesonide/glycopyrronium/formoterol fumarate) inhaler is listed on the PBS from 1 November for the treatment of COPD.

The inhaler, marketed by AstraZeneca, has an Authority Required (STREAMLINED) listing for maintenance treatment of moderate to severe COPD that is not adequately treated by a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) with long-acting beta2-agonist (LABA) or LABA with a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA)

According to Lung Foundation Australia, Breztri Aerosphere is is reimbursed for people who have experienced at least one severe COPD exacerbation, which required hospitalisation, or two or more moderate exacerbations in the previous 12 months, as well as those who have been stabilised on a combination of a LAMA, LABA and an ICS for this condition. It not indicated for the initiation therapy in COPD.

The listing was welcomed by LFA  Chair Professor Christine Jenkins, who said that even a single COPD exacerbation could have a negative impact on lung function and increase the risk of hospitalisation and death.

“Despite the known burden of exacerbations, many symptomatic patients with a history of exacerbations do not have their therapy reviewed and optimised. It is important for people living with COPD to speak with their GP or respiratory specialist about managing exacerbations,” she said.

It is expected that around 68,000 Australians per year may benefit from the subsidy, for an inhaler that would otherwise cost more than $1,000 per year for treatment.


The world’s top 4 respiratory specialist hospitals

Newsweek has released its 2021 list of the top specialist hospitals globally, but Australia is not among the four list for respiratory medicine.

The top specialised hospitals for 2021 in pulmonology are:

  • Montreal Chest Institute (McGill University Health Centre), Canada
  • Evangelische Lungenklinik Berlin, Germany
  • Fachkliniken Wangen, Germany
  • Thoraxklinik Heidelberg, Germany

A further five hospitals are listed under the combined speciality of cardiology & pulmonology:

  • Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, Canada
  • Fondazione Toscana “Gabriele Monasterio”, Pisa, Italy
  • Harefield Hospital, United Kingdom
  • Royal Brompton Hospital, London
  • Royal Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, UK

The list of is part of a wider series of rankings of the World’s Best Hospitals — drawn up by global data research firm Statista Inc, and covers 25 countries, including United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. Newsweek says the lists are based on  medical KPIs on hospitals, recommendations from medical experts (doctors, hospitals managers, health care professionals), and results from patient surveys. Two Victorian hospitals feature in the global top 100 for general hospitals: The Alfred in Melbourne ranked 57 and the Royal Melbourne at 81.


AMA ‘secession’ move slammed

A move by AMA Victoria to offer cheaper ‘Associate’ membership that does not include membership of the Federal AMA has been condemned by some senior figures as effectively seceding from the national medical union.

The state branch is offering a ‘low cost membership option’ that is 40% cheaper than the full annual membership rates of $1582, and which provides the benefits and services of the AMA Victoria branch.

AMA Victoria told the ABC it had simply created an “additional membership category which offers doctors more choice, flexibility and pricing transparency”.


However Dr Stephen Parnis, a former AMA Victoria President and Vice President of the Federal AMA said the move would undermine the authority of the Federal AMA and also irreparably diminish the resources and policy strength of the AMA at state level

The move was also opposed by Federal AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid, who urged doctors to maintain their full membership while the Federal body sought to resolve its issues with the Victorian arm.

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