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Information updates

Changes to PBS Criteria - Jorveza EoE treatment - November 2023

Jorveza® (budesonide) is an orally disintegrating tablet for the treatment of eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) in adults, that was first listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 May 2022. Several changes have been made to PBS prescribing criteria (from 1 November 2023) that should enable easier access to Jorveza for all patients with EoE, particularly those being treated in the public health system, but also in regional or remote areas where access to a Gastroenterologist may be limited. These changes have now been recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and implemented by PBS, with prescribing criteria changes to be implemented on 1 November 2023. 

ASCIA made a submission in January 2023  to support the main changes requested:

  • For ‘other specialists experienced in the management of EoE’ to be able to prescribe Jorveza (whilst respecting the need for histological confirmation of the condition prior to initiating treatment - through endoscopic tissue sample collection and analysis. 
  • The requirement for re-examination by endoscopy at 8 -10 weeks to confirm remission was considered too rigid (particularly within the public health system) meaning that some patients were unable to access treatment simply due to these scheduling of endoscopy limitations.

In summary these changes affect three treatment ‘phases’ as listed below. The new ‘First Continuing Treatment’ phase allows patients to stay on treatment (if it is providing a benefit) whilst waiting for the 2nd histology for confirmation of remission, and should ensure doctors feel confident to commence treatment without being concerned by when they can schedule the 2nd endoscopy.

Treatment Phase 1: Initial treatment - Induction of remission

Clinical criteria:

Patient must have a history of symptoms of oesophageal dysfunction,

AND

Patient must have eosinophilic infiltration of the oesophagus, demonstrated by oesophageal biopsy specimens obtained by endoscopy confirming the presence of at least 15 eosinophils in at least one high power field (hpf); corresponding to approximately 60 eosinophils per mm2 hpf,

AND

Patient must not receive more than 90 days of treatment under this restriction.

Treatment criteria:

Must be treated by a prescriber who is either: (i) gastroenterologist, (ii) surgeon experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis, (iii) physician experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis

**NEW** Treatment Phase 2: First continuing treatment - until remission is confirmed

Clinical criteria:

Patient must have previously received PBS-subsidised initial treatment with this drug for this condition,

AND

Patient must have demonstrated an adequate response to treatment with this drug for this condition,

AND

Patient must not receive more than 36 weeks of treatment under this restriction.

Treatment criteria:

Must be treated by a prescriber who is either: (i) gastroenterologist, (ii) surgeon experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis, (iii) physician experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis, (iv) medical practitioner who has consulted at least one of the above-mentioned prescriber types.

Treatment Phase 3: Subsequent continuing treatment - Maintenance of remission

Clinical criteria:

Patient must have previously received PBS-subsidised treatment with this drug for this condition under the First continuing treatment restriction,

AND

Patient must have documented evidence of having achieved histologic remission while receiving Initial and First continuing PBS-subsidised treatment with this drug for this condition, defined as a peak eosinophil count of less than 5 eosinophils per high power field (hpf), corresponding to less than 16 eosinophils per mm2 hpf on oesophageal biopsy,

AND

The condition must not have progressed while being treated with this drug.

Treatment criteria:

Must be treated by a prescriber who is either: (i) gastroenterologist, (ii) surgeon experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis, (iii) physician experienced in the management of patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis, (iv) medical practitioner who has consulted at least one of the above-mentioned prescriber types.

These changes should  provide benefits to patients with  EoE by improving ease of access to Jorveza as the only TGA registered and PBS reimbursed treatment for EoE.

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Shingrix Vaccine to Prevent Shingles - October 2023

Shingrix®  is a varicella zoster virus recombinant vaccine that can provide protection from herpes zoster (shingles) and post-herpetic neuralgia (long-term nerve pain). Funding of Shingrix from 1 November 2023 was announced by the hon Mark Butler (Minister for Health and Aged Care) on Sunday 8th October 2023.  The extended vaccine eligibility for 'high/medium risk' immunocompromised individuals iwill be considered at the November 2023 meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), so an announcement about this will be made after the transition from Zostavax to Shingrix on 1 November 2023.

ASCIA made a submission in January 2023  to support the PBS listing of Shingrix.

For details refer page 22 - https://www.pbs.gov.au/info/industry/listing/elements/pbac-meetings/agenda/november-2023-pbac-meeting  

From 1 November 2023 funding of Shingrix will be available for:

  1. All Australians over 65 (and over 50 for First Nation Australians), which includes all immunocompromising conditions above those ages.
  1. Immunocompromised adults aged 18 years and over with the following medical conditions;  haemopoietic stem cell transplant, solid organ transplant, haematological malignancy and advanced or untreated HIV.

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/shingles-vaccine-now-free-for-nearly-5-million-australians

Once funding of Shingrix vaccination for other immunocompromised individuals is confirmed, ASCIA will finalise and publish ASCIA Consensus Recommendations: Vaccination with Shingrix to Prevent Shingles for Immunosuppressive Conditions and Therapies on the ASCIA website https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/immunodeficiency

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Undergraduate Allergy Training for Health Professionals Survey - Closing date 17 February 2024

People who are involved in the development and/or delivery of tertiary healthcare degrees in Australia are invited to complete a survey about allergy training. ASCIA is conducting this survey as part of the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy Project.

The survey is available here from 17 October to 17 February 2024 and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The purpose of this survey is to:

  • Find out what allergy training is currently being provided in tertiary healthcare degrees.
  • Collect information to make recommendations to government about including evidence-based, best-practice allergy education as part of education and training for all relevant health professionals entering the workforce in Australia.

Why is collecting this information important?

  • Allergy is a significant public health issue with over 4 million Australians living with allergies. 
  • We currently do not know what allergy training is being provided to students undertaking tertiary study in healthcare.
  • Your feedback will help ASCIA to improve allergy training in tertiary degrees for future health professionals by standardising  training for undergraduate health professionals, which will improve how people with allergic disease are managed in the community.

Participation in the survey is voluntary and your responses will be securely stored by Qualtrics and only accessed by approved employees of ASCIA. Any identifiable information received will not be stored with your responses. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Emily Mamo (ASCIA Senior Project Officer) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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ACECQA approved ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for children's education and care services - October 2023

ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for children's education and care services has been approved by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) until October 2026. 

The ASCIA course is now published on ACECQA’s approved anaphylaxis management course list https://www.acecqa.gov.au/qualifications/nqf-approved (Section 3. Search the NQF approved qualifications list - under general search enter "ASCIA October 2026"):

Anaphylaxis Management only Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) ASCIA Anaphylaxis Training for Children's Education/Care Any date before October 2026 National Australia

ACECQA assessed and approved this qualification on 6 October 2023.

ACECQA is an independent statutory authority that assists governments in implementing the National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care throughout Australia.  The content of the previous version of the ASCIA course was ACECQA approved until the end of September 2023.

ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for children's education and care services will remain on ACECQA’s approved list until the end of September 2026 unless it undergoes significant changes. 

Feedback reports on ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses are available at https://www.allergy.org.au/ascia-reports

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AusPollen partnership impact case study published by NHMRC - September 2023

An Impact Case Study on the AusPollen Partnership and associated research projects has recently been published by the NHMRC, the peak national body supporting health and medical research in Australia. Read more here

The AusPollen partnership is an important research collaboration for ASCIA and was one of the first research projects supported by an AIFA research grant in 2014, when AIFA was first established. Since then, a total of 27 projects have been awarded AIFA research grants. Read more here

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New ASCIA Management Plan for Delayed Allergic Reactions to Foods - September 2023

A new ASCIA Management Plan for Delayed Allergic Reactions to Foods has been developed by the ASCIA Dietitians committee, in response to requests from children's education/care services. This plan is to be used for delayed non-IgE mediated allergic reactions to foods:

  • Food Protein Induced Allergic Proctocolitis (FPIAP) - a delayed non-IgE mediated food allergy, associated with blood and mucus in stool, and diarrhoea in an otherwise thriving infant.
  • Food Protein Enterocolitis (FPE) - a delayed non-IgE mediated food allergy associated with diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and sometimes faltering growth.

The plan is available on the ASCIA website https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-other-adverse-reactions/delayed-reactions-management-plan

ASCIA resources are living documents, and feedback on this plan is welcome, which will inform future updates.

The format of ASCIA Plans for Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) and Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE) has been updated to be consistent with other ASCIA Plans, but the content is unchanged. 

To access these plans go to https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-other-adverse-reactions

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ASCIA 2023 Conference Report - September 2023

Thank you to everyone involved in the ASCIA 2023 Conference, which was a highly successful hybrid event, with a record high number of delegates (724 – 72% in-person, 28% virtual), abstracts (165) and social functions.

ASCIA 2023 Conference sessions can now be viewed on demand by registered delegates on the conference platform for the next six months (until Sunday 31st March 2024) to enable continued professional development. To view the sessions, you will need to login to the conference platform using your custom log-in link which was sent to you in the delegate information email in the week prior to the ASCIA 2023 Conference. If you cannot find your link or gain access to the platform, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Final Program Book is available here:

pdfASCIA 2023 PROGRAM BOOK1.51 MB - updated to include details about sponsored sessions and social functions. 

Highlights

The ASCIA 2023 Conference was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney from Tuesday 5th to Friday 8th September 2023, as a hybrid conference, which enabled in-person and virtual attendance. There were several highlights, including:

  • An international standard of continuing professional development (CPD)*, with presentations of the latest research and issues in allergy and clinical immunology, presented by more than 60 speakers, including five international speakers - A/Prof Edmond Chan (Canada), Prof Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn (USA), Prof Anne Puel (France), Dr Lluis Quintana-Murc (France) and A/Prof Elizabeth Tham (Singapore).
  • The 2023 Basten Oration presented by Prof Connie Katelaris AM, which was chaired by Prof Ron Walls AM and attended by Prof Tony Basten AO. The Basten Oration can be viewed open access at www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference/annual-ascia-basten-oration
  • A record high number of 26 clinical grand rounds (CGR) presenters, with 25 CGR cases presented in-person. 
  • A record high number of 139 posters - abstracts will be published online in the Internal Medicine Journal which can be accessed at www.allergy.org.au/conferences/ascia-annual-conference/published-abstracts-ascia
  • AIFA grant recipients from 2021 presenting their research, and the announcement of the 2023 AIFA grants, which are listed on the AIFA website https://www.allergyimmunology.org.au/projects/projects#latest
  • An inaugural ASCIA Immunodeficiency Update for Nurses on Thursday 7th September.
  • Three concurrent Allergy Updates for Medical Practitioner, Nurses and Dietitians on Friday 8th September.
  • Interactive Q&A for all sessions, with the option of asking questions via the fixed microphones at ICC Sydney, the conference app or the conference platform.
  • A record high participation in six social functions held over four nights, including dinners on Wednesday night for 80 Trainees/Consultants and 70 Nurses, and the Gala Dinner for more than 200 delegates on Thursday night - all were fun and memorable events.
A total of 30 selected posters and 26 CGR cases were presented on Tuesday 5th September 2023 at ICC Sydney with the majority of presentations in-person. A total of five prizes of $500 each were awarded at the ASCIA 2023 Conference Closing Function for poster and CGR presentations, and recipients are listed on the ASCIA website:

Thank you to the:

  • Organising committee, chaired by Dr Katie Frith, for their work in compiling an outstanding program, and for paticipating as session chairs and speakers. Members. Main Program - Dr Paul Gray, Dr Alisa Kane, Dr Karuna Keat, A/Prof Jennifer Koplin, Dr Kathryn Patchett, Prof Kirsten Perrett, Dr Kahn Preece, Dr Shruti Swamy, Dr Winnie Tong, Dr Brynn Wainstein, Dr James Yun. Updates for Nurses and Dietitians - Kathy Beck, Jan Belcher, Wendy Birks, Geraldine Dunne, Carolina Valerio. Allergy Update for Medical Practitioners - Dr Lara Ford, Dr Kathryn Heyworth, Dr Rohit Saldanha.
  • ASCIA team, managed by Jill Smith, (ASCIA CEO) for coordinatiing speaker/chair invitations and confirmations, sponsorship and exhibition,  program development, communications, dinners, finances, poster and CGR abstract review, editing and prizes. The ASCIA team comprises Rikki Dunstall (Finance and Operations Officer), Michelle Haskard (Senior Project Officer) and Nadene Dorling (Senior Project Officer). ASCIA Project Officers who commenced work with ASCIA in March 2023 (Emily Mamo and Georgina Egan - both are health professionals) attended all allergy sesssions to assist in their work on National Allergy Council projects and to provide feedback on the program.
  • ICMSA team, managed by Siobhan Jensen (Event Manager) for managing complex onsite and virtual logistics, with more technological challenges than previous ASCIA conferences. The ICMSA team includes Jessica Moebus (Event Coordinator) and Emily Low (Event Assistant).

We greatly appreciate the support from the ASCIA 2023 Conference sponsors, which allows ASCIA to provide an outstanding program at a reasonable registration fee. Sponsors and exhibitors are listed at www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/sponsors

Other meetings held during the ASCIA 2023 Conference week included:

  • ASCIA Annual General Meeting (AGM) chaired by A/Prof Theresa Cole (ASCIA President) on Thursday 7th September. The ASCIA Annual Report is a record of presentations from the AGM and is available at https://www.allergy.org.au/members/ascia-annual-reports
  • CIRCA (Australian Immunogenomics) Symposium at the Garvan Institute, Darlinghurst on Monday 4th September
  • Practical Rhinoscopy Workshop at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst on Saturday 9th September.
Sustainability

To improve sustainability, the ASCIA 2023 Conference featured:

  • A living, digital Program Book, which can be kept up to date and reduces waste associated with printing. 
  • Online posters, which reduces production costs and waste associated with printing and transporting of posters.
  • Namebadges that do not include a plastic holder and reusable lanyards.
Feedback

The ASCIA 2023 Conference was the 2nd hybrid ASCIA Conference, and we continue to learn more from the process of organising what is essentially two conferences (in-person and virtual) in one. Delegates appeared to welcome interactions with colleagues and feedback has been very positive.

Whilst we will make modifications in future based on feedback and data, we will continue with the hybrid model for the ASCIA 2024 Conferences, as it has several advantages, including:

  • Participation -  for delegates when travel isn’t possible or feasible. 
  • Ongoing CPD - with all sessions accessible on demand for six months after the conference.
  • Q&A sessions - which enable in-person and virtual delegates  to submit questions.

In the meantime, we have recieved the following feedback from delegates, even before the post-conference survey feedback has been compiled:

  • Thank you for organizing such a wonderful ASCIA conference with an excellent scientific program!! 
  • Congratulations and huge thank you to Katie, Jill and your teams for a fabulous ASCIA annual conference with the perfect mix of science, education and networking.  
  • Reflecting on a wonderful ASCIA conference - Thank you to Katie, Jill and the amazing team.
  • Thanks so so much Katie and Jill, and all the organisers for an amazing conference! I have had so many people say that the organisation, line up and presentations were amazing this year! Well done team!
  • Continuing a great tradition of amazing ASCIA conferences! Looking forward to the next one. 
  • Thanks ASCIA committee for a great conference, thanks also to all presenters and attendees! Everyone has made it not just a useful conference but also fun… especially the dinners. 
  • Thank you everyone for making ASCIA 2023 such a success and also so much fun! Roll on ASCIA 2024!
  • A very big congrats to everyone for an excellent conference! Dr Katie Frith⁩ and Jill Smith -⁩ well done for leading your team to a great week!!
  • Thank you Jill Smith⁩, Dr Katie Frith⁩ and the Sydney organisation team for hosting a terrific and memorable meeting. 
  • Thanks Jill and Katie and Team!!! Great conference.
  • Thank you Jill, Katie and team for a great meeting. 
  • Thanks to Dr Katie Frith⁩ and Jill Smith⁩ and a huge shout out to Jan Belcher and Carolina Valerio for being a dream to work with in organising the nurses days. Let’s hope we can continue the immunodeficiency nurses day now too.
  • Congratulations on a great nurse program. 
  • Congratulations on a highly successful ASCIA 2023 conference!
  • Congratulations on an excellent conference!
  • I want to thank you and the team for a wonderful conference once again – it really goes from strength to strength!!
  • Great conference this year! 
  • Thanks for putting on another very successful conference . Its so good to be able to meet up with my peers but also to be able to have the online recordings to go back to later to catch all the points I missed.  I thought this year the conference was particularly efficiently run… the food was exceptional  and you even put on good weather.
  • Thank you again for the amazing ASCIA conference. This was my first conference, and it has greatly advanced my interest in this field! 
  • Thanks again to you and your team for a great conference.
  • Many thanks once again to you and the team for running an amazing event this year!!
  • Thank you to all involved in organising a fantastic ASCIA conference!
  • Congratulations on a wonderful ASCIA conference last week!
  • Thanks for a wonderful conference last week. 
  • Thanks for an amazing conference, everyone had a wonderful time and left feeling very inspired!
  • Congratulations to you and the team on organising such a brilliant ASCIA scientific program and social events for the ASCIA 2023 conference! 
  • Congratulations again for the success of another great ASCIA congress.
  • It was so nice seeing you at the ASCIA conference and what a great event it was!
  • Congratulations to you and your team for a very well organised and impactful conference.
  • I thought it was a fantastic conference organised by Katie, her team and ASCIA so well done!
  • Thanks again to you and the committee for a great conference. It was really one of the best programs in recent years, and I enjoyed seeing everyone.
  • I just want to say congratulations. It was a wonderful congress. The sessions are always highly educational but there was a real energy in the room this year.
  • Thank you again for the amazing ASCIA conference. This was my first conference, and it has greatly advanced my interest in this field! 
  • Thanks for a wonderful ASCIA, I really enjoyed the conference and the Immunogenomics Day.
  • The conference was fantastic. So good to be able to gather again.
  • Enjoy your well deserved break after a fantastic conference!
  • From all accounts ASCIA went exceptionally well, and you and the team should be very proud!
  • Great work on the ASCIA Sydney conference organisation Katie - informative and fun!
  • Congratulations on a wonderful and successful event!
  • I just wanted to say congratulations!! It was a great meeting.
  • The ASCIA conference was really good.
  • I didn’t have the chance to thank you properly for the amazing job you did with the ASCIA congress. Really valuable sessions and I learnt a lot, particularly in the sessions devoted to food allergy. Congratulations and thanks so much.

We look forward to seeing you at the ASCIA 2024 Conference, which will be held from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th September 2024 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, chaired by Dr Jovanka King.

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