Small batch of tocilizumab arrives

The TGA has advised the AMA that a small supply of tocilizumab has arrived in Australia.

The TGA has released a statement announcing that a small batch of 400mg IV tocilizumab arrived in Australia in December, prompting some changes to the current arrangements to manage the shortage.

The TGA has advised the AMA that patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, or adult Rheumatoid Arthritis whose condition has flared due to spacing or switching out their medication, can resume use of IV tocilizumab. More information on clinical guidance from the Australian Rheumatology Association is available here.

Despite this small increase in quantity, global tocilizumab shortages remain because the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing demand. The TGA have extended the Serious Scarcity Substitution Instrument (SSSI) until 30 April 2022. Under an SSSI, pharmacists can substitute a specific medicine without contacting the prescriber. Pharmacists must still inform the prescriber that they have substituted the medicine. More information on the SSSI is available here.

Further information from the TGA on the tocilizumab shortage is available here.

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