Begin Rant: Making the economic case for #MigraineLove

I’ve been doing a whole lot of emotional bleating about #MigraineLove – the #NoAimovigNoVote petition I started to get funding for migraine research and awareness, and importantly, to get the new breakthrough class of medications to prevent migraine on the PBS. The only one of this new CGRP class currently available in Australia is Aimovig – hence, no Aimovig, no vote. (Emgality has been approved by the TGA to be available 1 June.)

This is a long post, so here are the bullet points:

  • There’s a new class of medication, called CGRP (Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide) medications, that prevent migraine. They are the first drugs ever developed to specifically prevent migraine, and they work. The three brand names either available now or soon are Aimovig, Emgality and Ajovy.
  • 4.9m Australians suffer from migraine, most of them working age women. Around 400,000 Australians are significantly disabled by chronic or serious forms of migraine.
  • Migraine costs the Australian economy $35b a year, most in lost productivity.
  • Listing the class of medications is likely to cost a billion dollars or more.
  • Listing these meds on the PBS just for chronic and severe patients will potentially save the federal budget $1.4b in up front savings, plus flow on benefits from increased tax revenue and productivity, and decreased impact on the health system.
  • Listing these meds for episodic (less than 15 migraine days per month) will unlock even greater economic benefits, including contributing to decreasing the gender pay gap.
  • There’s a significant access issue that needs to be addressed: there aren’t enough neurologists, especially in rural areas.

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Begin Rant: On bias, election interference, Cambridge Analytica, and utter nonsense.

The hits just keep on coming of late. I knew I’d have to deal with the ghost of Cambridge Analytica when trying to do a voting study. I knew there would be a bit of fringe pushback against anything from a university in general. But the government is oh so helpfully ramping up the rhetoric about possible interference in the election, and right wing commentators in particular saying that ‘Universities have been captured by the left‘ because, shock, a university wouldn’t allow it’s integrity to be compromised by the right wing agenda of the proposed Ramsay Centre. End result? I’m spending my entire day dealing with nonsense.

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Begin rant: enough with the leftard

Moderating online discussion is a tricky business. I put up some partisan ads for the Voter  Choice Project on Facebook on Thursday night which may have, uh, inspired some discussion. While desperately trying to walk the fine line of allowing people to speak their views, and not forcibly putting really hateful content into people’s feeds (as this discussion was on paid ads, not in a group they chose to join), I reached a tipping point: the word leftard (and the equivalent RWNJ) is not ok.

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Begin Rant: On Joyce, what matters, and The New England Issues list

Barnaby Joyce is back in the news again for selling his story to Channel 7’s Sunday Night program, reportedly for $150,000. I could say many things. I am choosing to breathe deeply. Like Tony Windsor, I feel for the many victims of Joyce’s history of sexual predatory behaviour, a number of whom I know personally,  some of whom have been intimidated into silence, and indeed threatened with financial and personal ruin should they dare tell their stories to the media (for free).

During the height of the Barnaby Joyce controversy I began tweeting a number of local issues in New England, specifically focusing on ones I’d never heard the tenacious local MP utter a word about. I feel the best way to respond to the regurgitation of this nonsense is to collate them, and again remind people that there are many issues in my most beloved home electorate that the Member is either deliberately neglectful of, failing to attend to, or are otherwise just interesting local issues that demonstrate the complexity of New England and why they need an attentive MP working hard for them 24/7.

New England is what matters. Not Joyce. New England locals are welcome to add to the list in the comments.

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