Radiology is currently suffering from an unprecedented global shortage of iodinated contrast media. With the situation “outside the immediate control of the U.S. government,” the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) Government Relations branch has outreached to collaborate on mitigation strategies and flexibilities during this contrast shortage crisis.

The contrast shortage has had a direct impact on diagnostic imaging. According to the ACR, many treatment services falling under interventional radiology, neurology, interventional angiography, as well as imaging guidance in the OR have all experienced a delay while forcing limits on the use of what contrast is available.

As a result of the ACR’s advocacy, the Division of Critical Infrastructure Protection within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response held a forum to collaborate with private sector stakeholders to examine the shortage crisis. Matthew Davenport, MD, FACR, Vice-Chair of the ACR Quality and Safety Commission, spoke on “highlighting the profound impact the contrast shortage is having for practices and patients and provided information about conservation measures.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made note of “the seriousness of the shortage with respect to patient needs and radiology practice logistics.” The FDA is currently trying to mitigate the shortage and is building off the ACR’s message to use conservation as a tactic, along with other avenues to make contrast more available.

According to Collaborative Imaging, the ACR and multiple other stakeholders are requesting that the FDA take charge and use its power to validate an emergency use authorization. The EUA would make it legal to buy and use contrast agents existing outside of the U.S., which are presently not FDA-approved. The EUA would only be effective until the current end of the contrast shortage.

The ACR has performed outreach to many organizations impacted by the contrast shortage, such as the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, requesting that the stakeholders converse with the FDA to communicate the gravity of the shortage and the consequences to patient health.

For the full report on the contrast shortage as well as the ACR’s recommendations for mitigating the crisis, see the June 2022 edition of MedLearn’s Radiology Compliance Manager.

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