The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) has recognized the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for choosing not to support proposed amendments to air transportation regulations that would severely restrict transportation of medical devices containing lithium batteries.

Specifically, the amendments would have mandated that all devices containing lithium batteries have an on/off switch, and those batteries be shipped at the lowest practical state of charge, not exceeding 30%.

Lithium ion batteries are widely used in life-saving medical devices critical to everyday patient care and the fight against COVID-19, which includes ventilators, intravenous pumps, pacemakers, incubators, patient monitors, and defibrators.

“We appreciate ICAO recognizing that advanced medical devices are already heavily regulated in order to meet the highest standards of safety and effectiveness in all phases of their lifecycle, including transportation,” says Patrick Hope, executive director, MITA. “Imaging devices using lithium-ion batteries are widely used and critical to everyday patient care. Adding burdensome regulations and limitations would not only hurt patient access to care but unnecessarily hinder the medical industry with significant operational and cost burdens.”

The proposed changes were voted down following a letter sent by MITA and other industry leaders flagging concerns that adoption of the amendments would result in significant disruptions to supply chain and patient access. To read that letter, click here.