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Australians have expressed concern over extremely high costs for psychedelic-assisted therapies after the medicines were given the green light for use to treat depression and other severe mental health issues earlier this year.
Australia saw a landmark change in stature last month when the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) made the decision to authorise the use of psychedelic drugs across authorised pharmacies.
The decision would allow drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin, which is found in magic mushrooms, to be used in assistance of depression and PTSD treatment from July 1.
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Despite the groundbreaking move, many are concerned over the “out of reach” costs that are due to come with treatment – which could sit somewhere between AUD $25,000 – $35,000 (£13,500 – £19,000).
On top of costs for psychedelic-assisted therapy, the drugs could on their own set patients back by AUD $1,000 – $2,000, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I honestly don’t think, for the next 12 to 18 months post July 1, that these treatments will be very widely available at all,” Dr Stephen Bright, director of Psychedelic Research In Science & Medicine, told the outlet.
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“The tight controls of therapy mean there are very few psychologists who put their hand up. There will be a few clinics that open up, but I don’t think we’re going to see the floodgates open.”
Also speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, University of Melbourne associate professor Gillinder Bedi explained: “It’s unclear who will foot the bill, some organisations are trying to set up philanthropic funding. But it’s going to be for people with money, in the initial stages at least.”
“If you put two clinical psychologists in a room for eight hours, at a [Medicare] billing rate of $120 an hour – which is not what people charge, they charge $200 to $300 – you have an enormously expensive treatment. I think it could get higher [than $25,000].”
[Via: The Sydney Morning Herald]
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins