Industry news: Agfa, ACR, FONAR, GE Healthcare

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Agfa HealthCare has inked a three-year, dual source contract by Premier Purchasing Partners to provide computed radiography (CR) products to the alliance's 1,700 member hospitals and more than 43,000 other healthcare delivery sites. The Premier contract is estimated at approximately $35 million per year and names Agfa HealthCare as one of two preferred suppliers of CR technologies. Agfa’s entire line of CR hardware, software and service maintenance agreements is covered in this contract. Premier in a separate announcement named FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA as its other CR partner.

The co-chair of the American College of Radiology’s Committee on DICOM standards Charles E. Kahn Jr, MD, MS, has been elected co-chair of the DICOM Standards Committee, which includes industry leaders and professional societies representing global interests. The DICOM Standards Committee (DSC) oversees DICOM development and has the primary function of creating and maintaining international standards for the communication of biomedical diagnostic and therapeutic information related to digital images and associated data. The ACR Committee on DICOM Standards is a part of the ACR Commission on Medical Physics. One of the ACR committee’s key roles is participation and leadership on the DICOM Standards Committee.

FONAR Corporation recently received a Nasdaq notice that indicates that the company continues to fail to comply with the minimum bid price requirement for continued listing, and that its securities are facing delisting from the Nasdaq Capital Market. Fonar has requested a hearing before a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel to review the notice. It is hoped that the meeting will take place in February. In December 2005 Fonar was first warned by Nasdaq that the bid price of its common stock had closed at less than $1.00 per share over the previous 30 consecutive business days, and as a result did not comply with the rules for listing. The company was given a period to meet compliance. By last summer the company had gained and was back in compliance with the rules, with the exception of the bid price. Hence another extension followed. However, now Fonar’s listing status hangs on the opinion of the Nasdaq panel.

GE Healthcare announced the first Canadian implementation of its new PET/CT technology at Saint John Regional Hospital, in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Discovery STE is a fusion of the high-speed, high-resolution capabilities of GE’s computed tomography (CT) scanner with the metabolic and physiologic capabilities of its positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The install comes from funded by the community and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.