The release explains that GE Healthcare—the manufacturer of Omnipaque and Visipaque and the primary supplier of contrast media in Australia—has recently faced supply issues due to the current outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown in Shanghai, China, affecting the company’s manufacturing plant.
“RANZCR is liaising with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is seeking alternative supplies of contrast to address the shortfall,” the statement reads, noting that updates can be found on the TGA website.
The release continues: “RANZCR recommends that medical practitioners considering referring a patient for a CT during this time consult with a radiologist for advice on alternative imaging modalities or other strategies that could be used to diagnose and manage their patients.”
In addition, RANZCR communicates that it endorses the recommendations of the American College of Radiologists (ACR) Committee on Drugs and Contrast Media that radiology practices and hospitals implement a range of strategies to conserve current supplies of contrast to manage patient care. These recommendations include “utilise alternative studies to answer the clinical question such as non-contrast CT, MRI with or without gadolinium-based contrast media, ultrasound with or without ultrasound contrast agents, nuclear medicine, or PET-CT, when feasible,” and “look for alternative versions of contrast agents, which may be marketed under a different brand name or intended clinical use”.
Finally, the release notes that RANZCR further endorses the recommendations in the recent article by Joseph Cavallo and Jay Pahade (both Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, USA), titled “Practice management strategies for imaging facilities facing an acute iodinated contrast media shortage” published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, which provides details to support practice management during this contrast shortage.