AIPES works with industry, physicians over isotope shortage

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Following the shutdowns of the High Flux Reactor, in Petten, Netherlands, and the IRE production site, in Fleurus, Belgium, both of which provide the radioisotope molybdenum, the Association of Imaging Producers and Equipment Suppliers (AIPES) has assembled stakeholders, from reactor operators to physicians, to ensure isotope delivery.

One of only four reactors globally approved by the FDA to supply the radioactive isotopes, the Petten reactor was shut down late last month and will not resume operations until Oct. 22.

Although the Canadian and South African reactors are maximizing their output and after evaluating all alternative solutions, there will still be a shortage in delivery of technetium (Tc99) in Europe for four to six weeks, according to AIPES. The reduction in Tc99 delivery could be up to 30 percent and will likely be evenly spread across the European nuclear medicine centers. 

AIPES said that it is currently working with the European Industry for Nuclear Medicine on recommendations for the nuclear medicine physicians on replacement isotopes readily available for certain types of exams, in the hope of lessening the shortage’s impact on patients.  

According to AIPES, the Tc99 generator providers will personally inform the hospitals and nuclear medicine centers on a weekly basis about product availability.

The association stressed that despite the efforts made to overcome this temporary shortage, a long term strategy to replace the old isotope reactors needs to be implemented at EU level immediately. AIPES said that it has already started an independent assessment of future isotope needs and required production capacity, which will be presented to all stakeholders upon its completion in the coming months.