Breast cancer treatments and antibiotics are among more than 25 containers of vital medicines stuck on boats off Australia’s shores. Picture: Toby Zerna
Breast cancer treatments and antibiotics are among more than 25 containers of vital medicines stuck on boats off Australia’s shores. Picture: Toby Zerna

Crucial drug shortage fears as medicines stuck on boats

Breast cancer treatments and antibiotics are among more than 25 containers of vital medicines stuck on boats off Australia's shores that can't be unloaded due to industrial action on the wharves.

Arrotex chief Dennis Bastas Australia's largest medicines supplier has told News Corp the medicines held up by the dispute include:

- Cholesterol lowering medications called statins

- Blood pressure lowering drugs

- Diabetes medications

- Anti-epileptic treatments

- Antibiotics

- Breast cancer treatments

Each container holds around 5-6 months' worth of medicine supply.

Vital medicines are stuck on cargo ships amid industrial action on the wharves. Picture: Toby Zerna
Vital medicines are stuck on cargo ships amid industrial action on the wharves. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Mr Bastas who supplies 25 per cent of the medicines sold through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme said these medicines are on board ships waiting offload in Australia.

Many of these medicines are already in short supply in Australia and if the issue is not resolved soon there may be none of these products at all available in Australia, he warned.

News Corp has reported even before the industrial dispute there were nearly 500 medicines in short supply.

 

Mr Bastas is seeking government support to set up a local pharmaceutical manufacturing capability in Australia that could supply vital generic medicines we now source mainly from India and China.

"This problem at the waterfront underscores our over reliance on importing more than 90 per cent of all medicines," he said.

"If we had our own sovereign medicine manufacturing capability, we could better manage our own medicine requirements," he said.

The medicine supplier said he is not taking sides in the industrial dispute and is only concerned about getting medicines into the country.

Originally published as Crucial drug shortage fears as medicines stuck on boats


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