A parliamentary inquiry into allergic diseases is to be undertaken by the Australian Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Health. This was announced at the opening address of the 2019 ASCIA conference in Perth in September by the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.
ASCIA and Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, partners in Australia’s National Allergy Strategy, welcomed the enquiry, commenting “This will provide the opportunity for a thorough investigation into the many issues regarding the management of allergic diseases in Australia.”
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, said that allergies were seeing a rapid rise in Australia affecting more than four million Australians.
“Some will experience a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Over the last 20 years, hospital admissions for anaphylaxis has increased five-fold and has a major impact for so many families, schools and child-care centres,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“While the cause of the increase in allergies remains uncertain, what is clear is that this is a phenomenon found primarily in wealthier western nations like Australia. Severe allergies can be life threatening and this will be an important opportunity for the Parliament to shine a light on how we can better support those at risk.”
Mr Zimmerman indicated the Committee will look into the potential and known causes of allergies and anaphylaxis, food and drug allergy management, access and cost of services, as well as treatment and support services. They will also investigate developments into research and prevention of allergies and anaphylaxis, unscientific diagnosis and treatments being used by some consumers, and the impact of unnecessary drug avoidance due to unconfirmed drug allergies.
Submissions from interested individuals and organisations are invited by Thursday 24 October 2019.