Weight loss wonder, payroll tax and the CTE class action

It’s only March and politics already has a full dance card for GPs to foxtrot around. 

Luckily for The Tea Room, political reporter Holly Payne steps in today to lead us through the top stories of the year so far.  

First up, Holly spills the tea on her investigations into Ozempic and the marketing antics of manufacturer Novo Nordisk. Holly says the big pharma has now been suspended from a leading UK industry group for promotional misdemeanours.  

“Novo Nordis 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 the payroll tax verdict and what the judges said in the Thomas and Naaz case.  She contacted each state and territory to check for differences and reveals that Queensland is offering clinic owners an amnesty till 2025. However, Holly says that Western Australia is the premium state of choice for GPs who want to preserve their thin profit margin. 

“Western Australia is the fun outlier in that it's not part of the harmonized tax provisions. When I've corresponded with the WA tax office, they've basically said, “Thomas and Naaz doesn't apply here and we consider all GPs as contractors until otherwise”,” 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 said 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 particularly 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 $1 billion payout,” Holly said. 

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