Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How U.S. controls Canadian isotope supply

OTTAWA — The U.S. distributors of medical isotopes produced at an Ontario reactor cut supplies to all of their customers — including those in Canada — after the unit was shut down for an extended period last week.

Canadian nuclear medicine experts and their patients had to reschedule appointments and turn to less effective procedures even though, in the face of the shutdown, the Chalk River reactor produced more than six times the amount of molybdenum isotope needed to meet the Canadian demand.

"I have instructed my officials to work with their counterparts at Health Canada to open a dialogue with isotope distributors so that the impact on Canadians is minimized during times of uncertainty in global isotope supply," Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement Monday.

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