ACC Addresses Impending Medical Isotope Shortage

Recently the ACC signed-on to a coalition letter of support to the Department of Energy (DOE) to address the impending shortage of molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), a critical medical isotope used in over 20 million nuclear medicine procedures per year in the U.S. to help diagnose heart disease and cancer. We are currently two years away from a patient access crisis due to a scheduled stop in the production of Mo-99 at Canada's National Research Universal reactor in October 2016. With a shelf-life of only 66 hours, Mo-99 cannot be stockpiled, and therefore reliable production is considered critical medical infrastructure. New U.S.-based technologies have demonstrated strong progress toward filling the supply gap, while solving nuclear proliferation issues, but additional support is still needed to get these technologies to the market. The American Medical Isotope Production Act of 2012 calls for the DOE to support commercialization of a reliable domestic source of Mo-99 as soon as possible. The DOE has an existing program with funding to do so and at this point, no new funding or legislation is required. However, changes to how the DOE is operating the current program are necessary to reduce the time it takes for any of the current promising initiatives to reach the commercialization stage and begin to put Mo-99 into the market. Those who signed the letter include organizations of patients, health care providers, medical imaging companies, radiopharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors.

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