Production and Supply of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99)

The production and supply of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) over the past decades has been a textbook example of free market economics and the detrimental outcome that is a result of government meddling. Since the development of Mo-99 radiopharmaceuticals, the reactor at Chalk River in Canada provided the bulk of the supply needed in North America. AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.) was responsible for the operation of the reactor and the supply of Mo-99. As with many government agencies the product they produced was not priced for a free market. As the need increased AECL did little to grow the business or even maintain what they had because there was no revenue built into the price of the Mo-99 to allow for the sort of development required to serve a marketplace. Because the price was artificially low competitors found it impossible to enter the marketplace and eventually profit from their sizeable investment. Eventually, Chalk River had to be shuttered due to age and maintenance concerns. As expected there was a rush to find new supplies before any shortage hit. We applaud the SNMMI and other imaging groups for continuing their lobbying of Congress so the supply can be maintained near and longer term.

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