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Press Release

CORAR Foresees No Imminent Risk to Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) Supply

Posted on: 20 Oct 16

CORAR believes that the risk of a substantial shortage of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) in the next five years is overstated in a September 12, 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies).1 Mo-99 is the parent isotope of technetium-99m (Tc 99m) which is used in 30 to 40 million nuclear medicine procedures worldwide every year.2

Currently, Mo-99 producers do not report any shortages and have taken significant steps to continue providing reliable supply of Mo-99 after Canadian suppliers cease routine production after October 31, 2016. CORAR’s confidence in continued Mo-99 supply is based on publicly reported industry steps such as:

1. Current Mo-99 producers planning for increases in Mo-99 available supply capacity with potential increases in available production capacity by the end of 2017;
2. Ongoing maintenance and production capacity increases of several reactors in the research reactor fleet;
3. Contingency back-up Mo-99 supply from the Canadian suppliers (National Research Universal (NRU) research reactor and the Nordion Mo-99 processing facility) through March 2018, if necessary, and;
4. Potential new domestic Mo-99 producers pursuing conventional uranium fission technology as well as new non-fission technology to support supply of Mo-99 into the future.

Further information supporting our confidence in continued Mo-99 supply can be found in a separate and independent June 2016 report on Mo-99 Demand Capacity issued by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency High Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR).3 The HLG-MR report concluded:

“Overall, the current irradiator and processor supply chain capacity should be sufficient and if well maintained, planned, and scheduled, be able to manage an unplanned outage of a reactor, or a processor throughout the whole period to 2021.”

Although it is impossible to totally eliminate the risk of Mo-99 shortages over the next five years, CORAR believes the risk is mitigated by the significant industry steps mentioned above. Given that the Academies’ report has been released as a prepublication copy, CORAR will encourage the Academies to reevaluate the available data and consider amending its report to more accurately represent the risk of severe Mo-99 shortages between 2016-2021.

About CORAR: The Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. is a Washington, DC based trade association that is the voice of the radionuclide and radiopharmaceutical industry in North America. CORAR represents the developers, manufacturers, and nuclear pharmacies that distribute radiopharmaceuticals to healthcare providers for the diagnosis and treatment of patients in the United States. CORAR membership includes molybdenum (Mo-99) producers and Mo-99/technetium99m (Tc-99m) generator manufacturers.

1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Molybdenum-99 for Medical Imaging -
2 HLG-MR; 2016 Medical Isotope Supply Review:99Mo/99mTc Market Demand and Production Capacity Projection 2016-2021
3 HLG-MR; 2016 Medical Isotope Supply Review:99Mo/99mTc Market Demand and Production Capacity Projection 2016-2021

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Last updated on: 20/10/2016

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