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‘Deep concern’ over medicine shortages amid wharfies industrial action

Port Botany industrial action is prompting concerns of a critical medicine shortage as wharfies delay cargo deliveries.

The Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt told Ray Hadley “it is a matter of deep concern” because the vast majority of medicine arrives by sea.

Mr Hunt said the medicines arriving through Port Botany “will in some weeks … start to see shortfalls” and this pay dispute has “the Australian public caught in the middle of it”.

“Oncology, arthritis, cardiovascular, diabetes; all of these medicines are potentially at risk.

“And it’s not just a delay, if they had to be transferred from ship to plane … there’s a risk that you would have a temperature breach if they’re cold controlled and therefore the medicines would be ruined.”

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Patrick Terminals CEO Michael Jovicic has spoken to Ray Hadley about the disputes.

He says 90,000 containers are currently delayed off the coast.

“I have applied to the Fair Work Commission to seek to end the MUA industrial action.”

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National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia George Tambassis is pleading with everyone involved to resolve it as “timely and quickly as possible”.

Mr Tambassis told Deborah Knight the industrial action could cause “flow-on and impacts to our patients really quickly”.

“The medicine supply chain is such a sensitive piece of infrastructure.

“We don’t need any delays, definitely in a global pandemic, this is the last thing we need.”

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Image: Nine News