Crisis in Care: Australia Faces Unprecedented Migraine Medication Shortage

Crisis in Care: Australia Faces Unprecedented Migraine Medication Shortage

Media Release Summary:

  • Women across the country are in distress as access to their essential migraine injector pens continues to decline.
    Despite reports that the stock outage should be resolved by April 1st, there remains uncertainty raising concerns that the shortage could persist.
  • The situation has been further exacerbated by what appears to be a lack of incentive for pharmaceutical manufacturers after Government negotiations.
  • Australia’s leading medical and consumer groups are calling on Mark Butler, Minister of Health and the Department of Health for immediate measures to resolve the supply shortage.

February 22nd, 2024

UPDATE: 8th April 2024

Migraine & Headache Australia is pleased to confirm that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has reported the resolution of the Emgality & Ajovy medication shortage.

Emgality should now be available in most pharmacies. Ajovy will take time for stock to work its way to pharmacies and rural areas a little longer.

Thank you to everyone who helped raise awareness for the impact of this shortage. Migraine & Headache Australia was involved in several media interviews which appeared on radio, live TV, and in print. We also heard from many members of our community who had contacted their local MP about the medication shortage. These advocacy efforts are so important for improving treatment access for people living with migraine.

If you would like to support our advocacy efforts and research, please consider donating today >

Media Release, 22nd February 2024

Australia is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of critical migraine prevention medication after months of supply outages impacting the lives of women across the country. The shortage affects widely acclaimed migraine prevention medications, Emgality (Galcanezumab) and Ajovy (Fremanezumab) both of which are integral to the health and wellbeing of individuals suffering from chronic migraine.

In an urgent response to this shortage, Australia’s leading medical and consumer groups – including the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society, the Brain Foundation, and Migraine & Headache Australia convened this week for a crisis meeting.

Carl Cincinnato, Director of Operations at the Brain Foundation and Migraine & Headache Australia, expressed grave concern over the shortage, emphasising the severe impact on patients’ lives. “These groundbreaking medications, which are self-administered monthly through injector pens, have significantly improved the lives of patients by reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.” he said.

They are notably listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), making them accessible and affordable. However, the recent notifications by Eli Lilly and Teva Pharmaceuticals to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) about supply shortages of Emgality and Ajovy, respectively, have plunged patients and healthcare providers into uncertainty and distress.

“The interruption of these preventive treatments poses a grave risk, potentially leading to a resurgence of debilitating migraine attacks among patients. The alternatives are limited and not without their challenges, including the high cost of non-PBS covered treatments like Aimovig, which costs approximately $695 per month.”

“Despite reports that the stock outage should be resolved by April 1st, there is no guarantee that the full supply will be available. We’re deeply concerned this supply shortage will worsen and have a devastating impact on the lives of women across the country.”

The situation has been further exacerbated by what appears to be a lack of incentive for pharmaceutical manufacturers to meet the demand for these essential medications, despite negotiations between the Australian Government, the Department of Health, and the manufacturers regarding PBS reimbursement terms.

The inability to access these preventive treatments not only risks patients relapsing into chronic migraine but also significantly affects their overall quality of life, leading to increased chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and disability” Cincinnato stated.

Dr. Elspeth Hutton, President-Elect of the Australian and New Zealand Headache Society, highlighted the ethical dilemma faced by clinicians, “who may be forced to choose between initiating treatment for new patients and preserving the limited supply for existing patients”.

While the root causes of this crisis extend beyond the control of any single governmental figure, it presents an opportunity for decisive action to ensure that Australians suffering from migraine have access to the treatments they critically need.

The collective call to action from healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups is clear to Mark Butler, Minister of Health, and the Department of Health: immediate measures are needed to resolve the supply shortage and uphold the health and wellbeing of migraine patients across Australia.

Notes to the editor:

This press release is endorsed by the following healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups:

  • Brain Foundation
  • Migraine & Headache Australia
  • Australian and New Zealand Headache Society
  • Painaustralia
  • Migraine World Summit

Media interviews and case studies are available, please contact:
Vanessa Mundell
P: 1 300 886 660

About Migraine

Migraine is a complex neurological condition that affects 4.9 million Australians. The condition causes recurrent attacks of moderate to severe headache that is often accompanied by other disabling symptoms such as sensitivity to light, sound or movement, nausea and vomiting. Migraine prevalence is higher among females than in males. Despite its impact, migraine is underdiagnosed, undertreated, and imposes significant economic and wellbeing costs on the Australian population.

About Brain Foundation

Established in 1970 by an eminent group of neurologists and neurosurgeons, the Brain Foundation remains the largest independent, non-government funder of neurological and neuroscientific research in Australia. The Brain Foundation is a nationally registered charity dedicated to funding the highest quality Australian research into neurological disorders, diseases, and injuries, with the ultimate goal of advancing diagnoses, treatments, and patient outcomes.

About Migraine & Headache Australia

Migraine & Headache Australia is the only organisation in Australia that has supported the more than 5 million Australians affected by headache and migraine for over 20 years. Migraine & Headache Australia is a division of the Brain Foundation. Visit

About Australian and New Zealand Headache Society

The Australian & New Zealand Headache Society is the peak medical body that is dedicated to the training and development of health care professionals in the field of migraine and headache.

About Painaustralia

Painaustralia is the national peak body working to improve the quality of life of people living with pain, their families and carers, and to minimise the social and economic burden of pain. Our members include pain and other specialists, health practitioners, health groups, consumer organisations, consumers and researchers. Painaustralia works with our network to inform practical and strategic solutions to address this complex and widespread issue. Our aim is to have the voice of people living with pain, their families and carers represented in all aspects of health policy and decision making.

About Migraine World Summit

The mission of the Migraine World Summit is to reduce the global burden of migraine through education and fundraising. Each year, patient advocates including Carl Cincinnato and Paula K. Dumas interview over 30 leading migraine experts, doctors and specialists from around the world to provide free, unprecedented access to the latest science in migraine and answer the most difficult questions for patients in desperate need of relief. To date, more than 2.4 million people from 154 countries have participated in the Migraine World Summit to discover how to better manage the disease. Migraine World Summit is free and online from March 7-14, 2024, and available to order thereafter. To register, visit

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.