Weight wonder drug, ‘sick’ tax and CTE lawsuit

3 minute read

A sharp update on health politics across the nation with reporter Holly Payne.

It’s only March but we think we can call the biggest stories of the year.

Political reporter Holly Payne steps in to the Tea Room today to talk us through the situation with blockbuster diabetes/weight loss drug Ozempic and the marketing antics of manufacturer Novo Nordisk. That company has now been suspended from a leading UK industry group for promotional misdemeanours.

“Novo Nordisk partly funded an event that promoted one of their semaglutide drugs but they did not mention any side effects of the drug. They’ve also sponsored the creation of weight loss medicine units (of curricula) for medical students,” Holly says.

Massive demand for weight loss treatment has led to supply shortages in Australia but according to Holly’s sources this probably won’t improve until mid-year. Meanwhile, the dilemma continues as to who is most entitled to the weight loss/diabetes drug.

Holly also delves into payroll tax – which the RACGP is calling the #sicktax, we think not in a good way – and what the judges said in the most recent chapter of the Thomas and Naaz saga. If you recall, the medical centre operators were required to pay a lot of back-payroll tax by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and lost their appeal to that tribunal. Now they’ve had their application to appeal thrown out by the NSW Court of Appeal.

Holly contacted each state and territory to check for differences and reveals that WA is the state of choice for GPs who don’t want a payroll tax audit. “Western Australia is the fun outlier in that it’s not part of the harmonised tax provisions … They’ve basically said, “Thomas and Naaz doesn’t apply here and we consider all GPs as contractors”,” Holly said.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) also takes the centre field in our political update, as Holly discusses a class action lawsuit against the AFL.

She says that while the RACGP is calling for a change to codes none of the peak Australian sports medicine bodies have officially acknowledged the link between sports-related head knocks and CTE.

“They did indicate that they would likely be updating their position on CTE but there’s no guarantee of when that will actually come out. It’s often thought that the sports medicine bodies are quite close to industry,” Holly said.

As players and sporting institutions battle it out Holly suggests this is one game to watch. Who eventually gets the red card may have an expensive bill. “We’ve already seen a class action happen in America with gridiron. Those players won a $US1 billion payout,” Holly said.

You can listen and subscribe to the show by searching for “The Tea Room Medical Republic” in your favourite podcast player.

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