Update on Radiopharmaceutical Supply
Friday Apr 17, 2020 10:00hrs
The Working Group held a Vcon yesterday afternoon with ANSTO representatives. The issues discussed were:
- Mo99-Tc99m generator supply - as the number of domestic flights continues to decrease, reliable generator supply is becoming more problematic. Some freight flights (e.g., Toll) are now being used, however, with the flight schedules changing weekly or daily there will be continuous fluidity with respect to generator delivery. ANSTO will produce some generators on Friday that will be dispatched on the same day so that they are available to commercial radiopharmacies and hospitals on Monday morning. Getting generators to WA is becoming increasingly challenging. The Working Group along with ANSTO will continue to investigate other transport options;
- MIBG (123I) - 13 diagnostic doses were supplied earlier this week on a scheduled ANA flight from Japan. However, as of next week this flight will no longer operate and ANSTO are investigating charter flights or combining with other import/export freighter flights to maintain supply. The Working Group emphasised to ANSTO that it would be ideal to have a delivery every 2-3 weeks rather than monthly, especially in the situation of a patient needing a scan in the day or 2 after the last delivery, and hence would need to wait 1 month;
- MIBG (131I) - ANSTO are still working to establish a commercial radiopharmacy production capability, but are fully aware of the need for this therapeutic radiopharmaceutical;
- FDG and other radiopharmaceutical supply to remote and regional Australia: as mentioned above, as domestic flights continue to be cancelled or rescheduled supply of, in particular, short-lived radiopharmaceuticals such as FDG are becoming increasingly difficult. In addition, a solution from a week ago may now no longer apply as has happened with FDG supply between Sydney and Darwin due to the previously direct Darwin flight now being re-routed through Alice Springs. Also, we are aware of difficulties in supplying FDG to Far North Queensland and Tasmania. There was some discussion as to whether regulatory issues are impacting carrying medical radioisotopes in cargo and this needs to be clarified as a matter of urgency. There are also issues with transporting medicinal products across state and territory boundaries. The Working Group is preparing a submission, with assistance from ANSTO, to the Health Minister to look into a range of options to address continuous supply being available to the more remote parts of Australia. We will keep the membership briefed about the outcomes, as the current transportation arrangements and restrictions on movements would appear to be in place for at least the next 2 months.
The Working Group will continue to meet with ANSTO on a weekly basis and provide updates, or more frequently if the situation changes.
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