Isotope shortage is limiting nuclear medicine across Europe

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 05 September 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1575
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

    A worldwide shortage of medical isotopes used as radiotracers in molecular imaging will persist at least until the end of September, limiting European hospitals to between 20% and 40% of their usual nuclear medicine activities, the European Association of Nuclear Medicine warned this week.

    Wolfram Knapp, the association’s president elect, said that with three of the five global nuclear reactors supplying medical isotopes still shut down, it is too early to determine when supplies will return to normal. But he cautioned: “The end of September is a best case scenario.”

    In the meantime drug companies will have to ration deliveries of isotopes. Most hospitals receive isotope deliveries once a week, Dr Knapp said, but deliveries around Europe this week were generally about half of the normal quantities, and levels next week are expected to be even lower.

    Although 80% of molecular imaging investigations are not …

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