Information updates

Nominations for National Allergy Council

Full ASCIA members and Associate (Nurse) members are invited to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the following voluntary ASCIA representative roles on the National Allergy Council Shared Care Model (SCM) project overarching working group:

  • Clinical immunology/allergy specialist working in paediatric public and/or private practice.
  • Clinical immunology/allergy specialist working in adult public and private allergy practice.
  • Allergy nurse working in paediatric public and/or adult public practice.

For your reference, a brief overview of the National Allergy Council SCM project is available here: pdfNational Allergy Council Shared Care Model Project Overview Nov 20221.42 MB

This project will address issues related to access to quality healthcare for Australians with allergy, particularly those living in regional, rural and remote areas. Therefore, experience with setting up multidisciplinary models of care for chronic health conditions, standards of care, and/or a regional, rural or remote perspective would be an advantage, but is not essential. 

ASCIA members interested in these roles should email an EOI (up to one A4 page) and a brief CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Thursday 9 February 2023. 

The National Allergy Council is a partnership between the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, working with the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE), in consultation with key stakeholder organisations. Dr Katie Frith (representing ASCIA) and Maria Said AM (representing A&AA) are the co-leads for this project. 

The purpose of the overarching National Allergy Council SCM project working group is to:

  • Support the project co-leads in providing strategic oversight and direction across all components of the SCM project.
  • Guide national stakeholder consultations.
  • Support smaller working groups tasked with delivering various components of the SCM project.
  • Establish or build on networks and partnerships, ensuring a linked and collaborative approach.

National Allergy Council SCM working groups will:

  • Commence in March 2023 and will initially meet  for 1–2 hours duration, approximately 6 times per year. Most meetings will occur via videoconference, however occasionally a face-to-face meeting may be necessary, in which case the National Allergy Council will fund travel costs. As these roles are voluntary, no remuneration will be provided. 
  • Implement deliverables according to the National Allergy Council Activity Work Plan, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, over four years (2023 to 2026). This work should lead to significant changes in standards of care, education and training for allergy in Australia. 
  • Be listed on the National Allergy Council website and acknowledged at national meetings, conferences and publications.

In addition to the three ASCIA representative roles listed above, all ASCIA members will be given the opportunity to self-nominate for one of the sub-groups tasked with progressing specific components of the National Allergy Council SCM project. Initially, there will be two sub-groups:

  • Education, training, and scope of practice.
  • Standards of care for allergic diseases. 

To subscribe to communications about the National Allergy Council SCM project email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject SUBSCRIBE.

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CHOICE Allergen Immunotherapy study

CHOICE study coordinators are looking for clinicians to join them in an international multi-centre academic project, which looks at factors that drive the prescription of allergen immunotherapy in real-life clinical settings.

Study title: CHOICE = “Criteria Used by Health Professionals on the Selection of Allergen Immunotherapy in Real Clinical Practice: an international E-survey”.

National CHOICE study coordinators: Prof Connie Katelaris AM, Head of Immunology, Campbelltown Hospital, Dr Narinder Kaur, Clinical Immunologist and Allergist, Dr Margaret Li, Allergy and Immunology Fellow, SCHN.

To be a part of this project, clinicians are required to complete a quick 10-minute web-based survey about current practice when prescribing allergen immunotherapy and also a short questionnaire for each patient that you are prospectively planning to commence on allergen immunotherapy.

All data will be anonymous and stored securely. For further information, please see the PDF information sheet for clinicians  pdfClinician Information Sheet672.98 KB

If you are interested, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details, as well as your current practice setting. If you are working in a public hospital, please include your head of department in the email. We will be in touch with the next steps.

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Immunoglobulin Governance Program Updates

The latest Immunoglobulin Governance Program Update is now available on the NBA website (http://www.blood.gov.au/Ig-program-updates).

Immunoglobulin Governance Program Updates provide a snapshot of the  current work program of the National Blood Authority and priorities in the immunoglobulin space. It is updated quarterly.

To receive the latest Immunoglobulin Governance Program Updates by email, join the Ig Updates and National Immunoglobulin Interest Group (NIIG) subscription list: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.(link sends e-mail) with the words SUBSCRIBE Ig Program Updates and NIIG in the subject line.

In the body of the email, please indicate your interest (e.g. Healthcare Professional/ Patient/ Government, etc.) and include your signature block.

Subscribers receive notification of the quarterly Ig Program Updates, and may also be invited to informally discuss and comment on individual Ig-related issues as they arise (participation is optional).

For more information on NIIG, see: www.blood.gov.au/Ig-committees.

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PBAC Meeting March 2023  

ASCIA has lodged four submissions on 20 January 2023 in support of applications for new or updated Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings of products (listed below) that are relevant to allergy and immunology. These applications are on the agenda of the  March 2023 Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) meeting.  The submissions can be accessed at www.allergy.org.au/ascia-reports#s1

AMINO ACID SYNTHETIC FORMULA SUPPLEMENTED WITH LONG CHAIN POLYUNSATURATED (LCP) FATTY ACIDS (EleCare® LCP) - Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd 
Oral powder 400g
Clinical indications: Cow's milk anaphylaxis, severe cow's milk protein enteropathy with failure to thrive, combined intolerance to cow's milk protein, soy protein and protein hydrolysate formulae, cow's milk anaphylaxis, proven combined immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated allergy to cow's milk protein and soy protein, severe intestinal malabsorption including short bowel syndrome.
Proposed change to PBS listing: To request that EleCare LCP with new source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) continue to be listed on the PBS under the current conditions.
 
ANIFROLUMAB (Saphnelo®) - AstraZeneca Pty Ltd
Solution concentrate for I.V. infusion 300 mg in 2 mL vial
Clinical indication: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Proposed new PBS listing: Resubmission to request a Section 100 (Highly Specialised Drugs Program) Authority Required (written) listing for the treatment of severe SLE with a high degree of disease activity despite standard therapy.
 
BUDESONIDE (Jorveza®) - Dr Falk Pharma Australia Pty Ltd
Tablet 500 micrograms and tablet 1 mg (orally disintegrating)
Clinical indication: Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE)
Proposed change to PBS listing: To request PBAC advice regarding the number of biopsies to confirm eligibility for initial treatment; removal of the histological assessment to determine eligibility for continuing treatment; and an expansion to the treatment criteria to include physicians or surgeons experienced in the diagnosis and management of EoE.
 
VARICELLA ZOSTER VIRUS RECOMBINANT VACCINE (Shingrix®) - GlaxoSmithKline Australia Pty Ltd
Injection [1 vial] & adjuvant substance diluent [0.5 mL vial]
Clinical indication: Prevention of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia
New PBS listing:  Resubmission to request a National Immunisation Program listing for the prevention of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia in:
  • Adults 65 years of age with ongoing catch-up for adults over 65 years of age.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults 50 years of age with ongoing catch-up for adults over 50 years of age. 

Providing input

Feedback is due by 25 January 2023 at https://ohta-consultations.health.gov.au/ohta/pbac-march-2023

The PBAC considers these public consultation inputs when considering the clinical and economic evidence presented by the applicant (sponsor). Consultation input for items to be considered by the PBAC in March 2023 can be submitted via the online survey on the Office of Health Technology Assessment Consultation Hub. Questions in the survey focus on issues such as:

  • Unmet needs or challenges around current treatment
  • Health or quality of life outcomes that are considered important
  • Expected benefits of the medicine
  • Side effects - what is manageable and what is not
  • Costs associated with current treatment

 

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Donate to AIFA and make a difference to allergy and immunology research

Thank you to our generous supporters, who have enabled the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia (AIFA) to provide over $620,000 to 27 research projects since 2014:

  • AIFA ensures that 100% of your tax deductible donation will directly fund grants for allergy and immunology research, not administration or marketing. Donations can be made online on the AIFA website.
  • All donations of $100 or more are listed on the AIFA website in perpetuity to provide a lasting legacy.
  • Named AIFA research grants of $10,000 or more can be targeted to specific clinical areas.
  • AIFA is an ASCIA initiative - ASCIA and AIFA are registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC).

Thank you also to the AIFA expert grant selection panel, led by Dr Melanie Wong, who volunteer their time to work on the robust AIFA grant selection process.

AIFA grant rounds open in March each year and are announced at the ASCIA Annual Conference in September, which also includes presentations by previous AIFA research grant recipients in an annual AIFA Research Symposium. 

To be eligible for an AIFA grant the Chief Investigator must be an ASCIA member and the research needs to be carried out by the chief investigator and designated team in a non-profit institution in Australia or New Zealand. 

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Voluntary recall of specific batches of ALK Peanut SPT in Australia

AMLS is voluntarily withdrawing specific batches of ALK peanut allergenic extract for diagnostic skin prick testing (SPT) in Australia. AMSL will collect affected batches and will provide replacement products. All existing stock has been removed from the AMSL inventory and will be returned to ALK. 

ALK-Abelló, Inc. has been made aware of multiple adverse events from Allergists in Australia resulting from diagnostic SPT using specific batches of ALK Peanut SPT product in 5mL and 10mL packaging configurations at 1:10 w/v. Information on the specific batches is included in this document pdfMarket Withdrawl Letter for Peanut Diagnostic177.98 KB.

According to these reports, individuals who were test-negative using the above product lots subsequently experienced allergic reactions to peanut. 

If there are any questions, contact the AMSL Allergy team:

Ph +61 (02) 9882 3666 | +61 (0)448 022 855

amsl.com.au | LinkedIn

2 McCabe Place, Chatswood NSW 2067

PO Box 5197 Chatswood West NSW 1515

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Pharmac to fund EpiPen for severe allergies from February 2023

Pharmac has confirmed on 15 December 2022 that it will be fully funding the EpiPen brand of adrenaline (epinephrine) autoinjectors from 1 February 2023, which will benefit thousands of New Zealanders. 

The media release from Allergy New Zealand is available here:
pdfAllergy NZ response to Pharmac announcement Dec-2022180.68 KB

The following ASCIA resources have been updated in January 2023 to reflect this funding change:

The following is a media release from Pharmac.

“We are pleased to be able to share that adrenaline auto-injectors will be funded for anyone who has previously experienced a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, or anyone who is at significant risk,” says Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams.

“Funding adrenaline auto-injectors will improve the quality of life for thousands of individuals who have allergies, their caregivers and whānau. We estimate that there will be around 12,000 people accessing adrenaline auto-injectors in the first year of funding, increasing to 17,000 people per year after five years,” says Ms Williams.

“Pharmac would like to acknowledge everyone who summited feedback on the consultation,” says Ms Williams. “The responses were supportive of funding and offered suggestions to make sure that everyone eligible can access them. This feedback has made sure adrenaline auto-injectors will make a considerable difference to people’s lives.”

One change we have made, after considering feedback about the diversity of patient pathways and the risk of inequities, is to allow access criteria applications for funding (which includes assessment of anaphylaxis risk) by any relevant practitioner rather than by a specialist. We consider this better reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of our healthcare system and will support more equitable access to adrenaline auto-injectors for those who need them.

Allergy New Zealand’s chief executive Mark Dixon says, “We are delighted with Pharmac’s decision and recognise everyone who has worked so hard to raise awareness of the need for this funding. We know the hugely positive impact it will make on the lives of the thousands of New Zealanders living with the risk of anaphylaxis. On their behalf we are grateful and look forward to working with Pharmac to ensure all communities have equal access and knowledge to benefit from this decision.”

“We were really pleased to share this decision with Allergy New Zealand and look forward to working with them to help New Zealanders benefit from this treatment,” says Ms Williams. “We are working to be faster, clearer, and simpler with our funding decisions. Today’s decision is one of many that we’ve made this year and we’re pleased to say there are more to come.”

Further information

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 021863342 if you would like to know more or contact Allergy New Zealand’s chief executive Mark Dixon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

People can learn more about the EpiPen brand of adrenaline auto-injectors through the supplier’s website, https://www.epipen.com/en and at www.allergy.org.nz/education/anaphylaxis/

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