A SURGE in the price of Panadol Osteo will deteriorate the condition of Wagga people living with arthritis and will draw out their treatment, the city’s arthritis support group has warned.
Arthritis NSW Wagga branch president Lorraine Thomas has joined backlash against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which on New Year’s Day lifted prices for Panadol Osteo by 50 per cent.
The local arthritis support group has more than 150 members – and Ms Thomas says there are many more people living in the community affected by arthritis.
She said the price rise to $7.50 a box would force people to take their medication less regularly.
“It’s a major concern to us,” Ms Thomas said. “You’re told to consistently take your pain relief and you need to take it regularly for the best results. If they raise the prices, people would be less likely to take it when they need to.
“They will skip dosages because they can’t afford it.”
The government moved to condemn GSK’s price hike by urging people to boycott the popular painkiller.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said there were more than 30 equally-effective paracetamol alternatives for osteoarthritis sufferers.
However, Ms Thomas said Panadol Osteo appeared to be the most effective among those with weak stomachs.
“For a lot of them it’s the only pain relief they are able to take,” she said.
“A lot of the other painkillers such as Nurofen don’t work for a lot of people because they get stomach pains when they use them.
“The price needs to be put back to where it was.
“It’s not fair.”
GSK blamed the price hike on rising costs – and said it had only been able to make two price changes in the last 10 years while the product was on the PBS.
With a shift to an over-the-counter model, GSK said it was making “necessary adjustments” to ensure there was reliable supply.
But Ms Ley rubbished rubbished the manufacturer's reasoning, saying the changes to the PBS imposed no extra administrative or regulator costs. She urged the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate.
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