News in brief: PBS listing for adalimumab biosimilar; Musculoskeletal conditions the most costly; 10 Choosing Wisely tips for COVID-19

Wednesday, 25 Aug 2021

PBS listing for adalimumab biosimilar

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has recommended PBS listing of Pfizer’s biosimilar adalimumab pre-filled pen Abrilada for the same indications as the reference brand Humira.

The recommended indication for rheumatological conditions include rheumatoid arthritis; Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), psoriatic arthritis; Ankylosing Spondylitis.

According to the PBAC recommendation, the biosimilars Abrilada, Amgevita, Hadlima, Hyrimoz, Humira and Idacio PFS should be treated as equivalent to each other; and Abrilada, Amgevita, Hadlima, Hyrimoz, Humira and Idacio PFP should be treated as equivalent to each other for the purpose of substitution (i.e. ‘a’ flagged), for respective PBS-listed indications.

At its July meeting the PBAC also recommended PBS listing of etanercept (Enbrel) in dose dispenser cartridges under the same conditions as the currently listed pre-filled syringes.

Musculoskeletal conditions the most costly

More money was spent on musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and back pain, than any other disease, condition or injury in Australia, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Disease expenditure in Australia 2018-19, analysed how $136 billion which could be attributed to specific diseases or injuries was spent across the health system.

‘Overall, musculoskeletal disorders attracted the most spending at $14 billion, followed by cardiovascular diseases ($11.8 billion), cancer and other neoplasms ($11.8 billion), and mental and substance use disorders ($10.5 billion),’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.

While cardiovascular diseases accounted for the biggest spend in public hospital inpatients ($4.4 billion), musculoskeletal disorders was the highest spend in private hospitals ($4.9 billion).

Back pain was also one of the top 5 diseases causing burden in 2018, according to another recent AIHW report.

Top 10 Choosing Wisely tips for COVID-19

An international taskforce on Choosing Wisely for COVID-19 has released its top ten recommendation for the general public and for physicians.

The 18-member taskforce from India, Canada, the US and UK, encompassed the disciplines of public health, primary care, infectious diseases, respiratory medicine, critical care and more.

The five recommendations for the general public reinforce prevention messages, when to get tested and when to seek medical help.

The five recommendations for physicians focus on the management of COVID-19. They are:

  • Do not use prescribe unproven or ineffective therapies for COVID-19
  • Do not use drugs like remdesivir and tocilizumab except in specific circumstance where they may be of use
  • Do use steroids prudently only in patients with hypoxia, and monitor blood sugar levels to keep them in normal range
  • Do not routinely perform investigations that do not guide treatment, such as CT scans and inflammatory markers
  • Do not ignore the management of critical non-COVID-19 disease during the pandemic.

Read more in Nature Medicine

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