An estimated 15.3 million Australians are at risk of developing a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (CIDD) as the health system struggles to cope with the rising number of cases.
The numbers are a fraction of the number of Australians who have died from the disease, which has surged from around 4.5 million in 2012 to about 12.5m in 2014.
The rise has coincided with the government’s shift to a new system for managing CIDD, and with the introduction of new drugs, some have suggested the government may have underestimated the risks.
The drug makers of stye, a treatment medication approved for treating gout, are also pushing the government to make more money from the new market.
Stye was approved in the US in 2012 and has been available in Australia for several years, but it is now under attack in the States.
While the drug has been approved in Australia, its approval in the United States is being challenged by an array of companies including Turing Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
“This is an opportunity to be able to bring this drug to the Australian market in a way that can help to support the healthcare system,” Dr Stuart Coyle, the president of the Australian Medical Association, said.
“There’s a lot of concerns that we’ve heard about over the last few years about this drug, and we’re looking to address those.”
Dr Coyle said the AMA was working with government to help develop a new stye medication to help manage the CIDDs rising rates of side effects, which have included a spike in the number and severity of hospital admissions.
“The main issue with the stye is that it is not approved for use in Australia.
We’ve seen it in other countries where the drugs are used in Europe and elsewhere, but we’ve never had a prescription for it in Australia,” Dr Coyle told ABC Radio National’s Today program.”
We don’t know whether it is a safe drug or not, and so we’re very keen to look at that as we work through this process.”
The AMA said the drug was only available in the country if a doctor prescribed it, and that was only after a patient had tested positive for the drug.
Dr Cyle said he was also working with the Government to ensure the drugs use in the developing world was monitored.
Dr Richard Smith, who runs a clinic in Adelaide, said stye treatments had been given to hundreds of thousands of people in the developed world.
“People who were taking it had had their blood drawn and they were being tested for a whole range of different things,” Dr Smith said.
But the rise of CIDd in the past five years has made the need for treatment in the wealthy West more pressing.
Dr Smith said many people were seeking treatment outside of the developed country.
“This has really been an issue in the last five or six years, with the rise in COVID-19, and there’s been a lot more people being in the community looking for help and they’re coming in through the community,” Dr Brown said.
Dr Brown said a number of patients had tested negative for stye in recent months, and he was working to get stye to patients as soon as possible.
“It’s very important that people come in for their first check-up,” Dr Davis said.
The Government has also launched a new website, called the National Drug Survey, to monitor the rise and the progress of new treatments.
“For a long time we’ve had a lot on our hands and we’ve just never had the right resources in place to do a full clinical assessment of these drugs,” Dr Hough said.
A spokesman for the Australian Government said styrone was not available for sale in Australia because it was considered too risky.
“Styrone is an approved drug for treatment of the disease in Australia and has a safe and effective long-term record of efficacy in preventing and controlling COVID and dmdd,” the spokesman said.