The removal of sustained release paracetamol from the PBS is premature, especially in the absence of health system support for more effective alternatives to help people manage their arthritis pain, Arthritis Australia says.
In a written statement published on Friday the organisation also reiterated its concern that the removal of the 665mg ‘osteo’ slow release formulation from the PBS could lead to a shift to other PBS listed therapies for osteoarthritis that have less favourable safety profiles.
Last May the organisation along with the Australian Rheumatology Association wrote a letter to the PBAC urging the body not make any decisions regarding paracetamol until a formal review of the current clinical practice guidelines for its use in OA was complete.
The letter, which went unanswered, also outlined concerns around the financial impact the decision may have on concessional patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
“On average, a concessional patient used to pay $51.20 for their paracetamol osteo over the course of a year, taking into account safety net provisions. They will now be paying between $118.80 and $238.80 for a 12 month supply” the current statement noted.
“Concessional patients with arthritis will have to pay up to four times more for their pain relief following the delisting of paracetamol from the PBS from 1 January 2016” it added.