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Most countries face nuclear imaging supply issues, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the problem

A large group of international physicians made this discovery after querying 35 countries representing nearly 75% of global nuclear medicine sites, sharing their findings on July 9 in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Societies responding to the survey reported problems with radioisotope availability, radiopharmaceuticals and kits for diagnostic and therapeutic use.


For example, the United States accounts for approximately half of the global market, but relies on three Molybdenum-99/ Technetium-99m suppliers. Meanwhile, most African countries depend on a single supplier for such radioisotopes which are often used in cancer imaging exams.


And the ongoing pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, as flight restrictions have hindered supply chains, according to Andrew M. Scott, with the Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapy at Austin Health, and colleagues.


In addition to the Mo-99/Tc-99 supply issues, respondents noted problems reliably obtaining cold kits, which are used to simplify radiopharmaceutical production and enable consistency across varying sites. More than half of the 33 radiopharmaceutical kit manufacturers provide to only a single country and eight provide kits to two countries. Most respondents also do not have access to therapeutic tracers, such as 123I, 123I-MIBG and 131I-MIBG, because of cost, supply or distributor issues.


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Source: HealthImaging