High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes

First mandate (2009-2011)

During the first mandate, the HLG‑MR examined major issues that affected the short-, medium- and long-term reliability of 99Mo/99mTc supply. The HLG‑MR, working with medical isotope stakeholders, completed a comprehensive assessment of the key areas of vulnerability in the supply chain and identified key issues that needed to be addressed.  The group examined the supply and demand for 99mTc , undertook a full economic analysis of the supply chain, and reviewed potential 99Mo/99mTc production technologies. From this analysis, the HLG-MR developed a policy approach to address the issues and ensure the long-term security of supply of these important medical isotopes.

As a result of the work of the first mandate, the NEA released five reports under The Supply of Medical Radioisotopes series. The final report, The Path to Reliability, provides the full findings and analysis of the issues facing the supply chain, and describes the HLG-MR policy approach to encourage long-term supply security of 99Mo/99mTc. The recommendations of the policy approach detail the essential steps to be taken by governments, industry and the health community to address the vulnerabilities within the supply chain, including changing an economic structure that does not support or reinforce reliable supply.

By the end of the first mandate, the supply situation of 99mTc had stabilised with the return to service of two of the world’s five main supplying research reactors. In addition, members of the HLG-MR and other key stakeholders had implemented changes to address some of the immediate challenges affecting the security of supply. However, the underlying problem – that of an unsustainable economic structure – still remains to be adequately addressed. The market has not completed the necessary restructuring towards sustainably and thus, the long-term supply situation is no more stable or secure than it was during the shortage periods. The full implementation of the policy approach would address this key area of vulnerability.

Last reviewed: 4 December 2013