The first National Allergy Strategy has been released by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia and welcomed by the Pharmacy Guild.
Developed over the last 12 months involving over 50 stakeholder groups, including consumers, the strategy aims to address public health issues relating to the rapid and continuing rise of allergy in Australia and improve the health and quality of life of people with allergic diseases, their carers, and the community.
“More than 4 million Australians are currently affected by allergic diseases and that number is growing,” says leading paediatric allergy specialist Clinical Associate Professor Richard Loh, from ASCIA.
“It’s a serious public health issue which requires more than just lip service. We now need action by all levels of government and the community.”
“We’re dealing with under diagnosis which leads to under treatment as well as incorrect or inappropriate treatment, both of which may harm consumers,” says Maria Said, the President of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.
“The case for change is clear,” says A/Prof Loh who, with Said, co-chaired the development of the National Allergy Strategy.
“Almost 20% of the Australian population has a confirmed allergic disease and that’s increasing. Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reactions) have increased fivefold in the last 20 years and 10% of infants have an immediate food allergy.
“We also now have evidence that anaphylaxis in older children has more than doubled in the last seven years alone.”
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomed the release of the Strategy.
The strategy states that the “services of dietitians, pharmacists and psychologists in particular, are often required to optimally manage allergic diseases,” it points out.
Further, the strategy recognises the role that pharmacists have in a shared care model of practice, highlighting the importance of improved communication between pharmacists, GPs and clinical immunology/allergy specialists, and the need to promote appropriate referral to allied health professionals with expertise in allergy, such as pharmacists, who provide self care and quality use of medicines advice.