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The Australian Patients Association is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to championing and protecting the rights and interests of all patients, and improving overall patient care and health outcomes.

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Media Release 26th May 2020

COVID-19 and lack of local manufacturing options put critical medicine supplies and patients at risk

Patients suffering from lupus, diabetes and chronic pain are among chronically ill Australians significantly impacted by a shortage of over seventy medicines, leading to calls for an urgent overhaul of Australia’s critical medicine supply chain to ensure medicines don’t run out.

Australian Patients Association (APA) Chief Executive Stephen Mason, said there are currently seventy-two medicines listed on the TGA website as being in critical short supply and has called on the Federal Government to use the crisis as an opportunity to investigate having critical medicines manufactured in Australia.

“The past two months in particular has seen a rapid decline in the availability of many critical drugs and medicines,” Mr Mason said.

“Moreover, in many instances pharmacists are often unable to advise the patient when the medicine will be back in stock.”

“Although the shortages are exacerbated by the lack of international flights due to Covid-19 restrictions, the fact that 90% of our drugs and medicines are imported leaves us vulnerable in the event of a pandemic like we are living through at present.”

Mr Mason said it is in Australia’s best interests for the country to be more self-reliant.

“The Government should encourage more local manufacturing of key medicines and offer appropriate incentives to support this move,” he said.

“To overcome this, while the Federal Government investigates local medicine manufacturing options, we need to ensure Australia has a minimum of three month’s supply of critical medicines and vaccines available. We would also like to see the TGA work more closely with the Pharmacy Guild to develop an improved early warning system to ensure life-saving medicines aren’t impacted by global supply chain issues in other countries.”

For further information contact: Stephen Mason Ph: 0408 944 859 or Office: 03 9274 0788

email smason@patients.org.au

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