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Airfreight a critical priority for Australia’s medicine supplies

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Media Release

Medicines Australia is urging the Federal Government to ensure international air freight and commercial flights continue to operate so medicines and medicine supplies can continue to arrive into Australia – both for COVID-19 emergency needs and existing health conditions within the community.

“We have expressed our significant concerns with the proposed requirement for flight crews to self-isolate on arrival back to Australia,” states Elizabeth de Somer, CEO Medicines Australia. “As much as 60% of critical medicines arrive as cargo on passenger and freight planes and the unintended consequence of these proposed measures would have an immediate impact on our critical medicines and medical supplies arriving.”

“We do of course, appreciate that all necessary steps need to be taken to protect the flight crews – as essential workers in this unique situation,” said Ms de Somer.

“The supply of medicines to Australians who rely on them is the pharmaceutical industry’s priority. Companies are working round the clock to meet the expected and actual surges in demand of critical medicines due to COVID-19. However, we rely on the movement of planes and their crews in and out of Australia for this to occur,” she adds.

Australia receives its medicines from a wide range of manufacturing and production facilities around the world.  Each medicine is different with a distinct supply chain – based on its complexity, manufacturing, anticipated demand, shelf-life and storage needs.  This includes needs for cold chain storage for specific medicines like vaccines.

Medicines Australia is working closely with the Minister for Health on all matters relating to medicines supply in Australia. Notably with the Departments of Health, of Industry and of Trade on the maximisation of returning airfreight opportunities as part of the Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

“Working with the Government, the COVID-19 Commission, the AMA, and other industries who rely on international flights as a means of inventory transport is one of Australia’s highest priorities now together with safety of Australia’s flight crews and the management of flight arrivals back into Australia. We hope for a quick resolution and management strategies to address this very critical need,” concludes Ms de Somer.

Ends –

More information – Natalie Wimmer – nwimmer@medaus.com.au – 0450 728 660

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