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As COVID-19 hampers radioisotope supply chain, Australia charters delivery flights

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 20, 2020
Business Affairs Molecular Imaging

The completion last year of the ANSTO Nuclear Medicine Facility enabled the organization to meet domestic demand in Australia and become a supplier of up to 25% of Mo-99 in the world. The pandemic neither interrupted generator production nor that of Mo-99.

ANSTO plans to discuss the issue in a submission for a parliamentary inquiry to be held on Tuesday, August 18. The public hearing will focus on the impact COVID-19 has had on Australia’s defense, trade and international relations.

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The organization says it will continue to work with clinicians to adjust delivery logistics in order to maintain patient access to nuclear medicine. It adds that the use of chartered flights “highlights the potential for disruption to the import of nuclear medicines caused by pandemics.”

“The reduction in flights as a result of COVID-19 has meant that access to overseas supplies of this important isotope has become more difficult and more unreliable,” said the organization. “If Australia did not have such a capability, there could have easily been major shortages in supply of this lifesaving product during the height of the pandemic, especially given our remoteness from the main producers in Europe.”

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