MA urges the government to keep airfreight services running

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Ensuring the supply of medicines to Australians for COVID-19 emergency needs and existing health conditions within the community strongly depend on airfreight services and Medicines Australia is therefore urging the government to ensure international and commercial flights continue to operate.

“We have expressed our significant concerns with the proposed requirement for flight crews to self-isolate on arrival back to Australia. 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,” Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer says.

However, Ms de Somer stated that as much as 60% of critical medicines arrive as cargo on passenger and freight planes and the unintended consequences of these proposed measures would have an immediate impact on critical medicines and medical supplies arriving.

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-like and storage needs. This includes needs for cold chain storage for specific medicines like vaccines.

“The supply of medicines to Australians who rely on them is the pharmaceutical industry’s priority. Companies are working around 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, Ms de Somer says.

“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 backs into Australia. We hope for a quick resolution and management strategies to address this very critical need.”