December 11, 2017
SNMMI and other societies and organizations in the nuclear medicine community have sent joint letters to the U.S. Senate and House chairs and ranking members of the respective Subcommittees on Energy and Water Development of the Committees on Appropriations, voicing support for $67.4 million to secure a sufficient domestic supply of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).
In 2012, Congress passed the American Medical Isotope Production Act in recognition of the need for this isotope so important for crucial diagnostic tests that benefit millions of patients. The development of a domestic supply of Mo-99 is also supported by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at the Department of Energy (DOE), which currently has four cooperative agreements with companies to produce the isotope in the U.S. using non-high-energy uranium. The research for alternative production methods (primarily with low-enriched uranium) have been costly and taken longer than expected. They are now close to market-readiness, and funding from Congress in the Energy and Water bill would ensure a safe, secure supply line of domestically-produced Mo-99, while also creating high-tech U.S. jobs.
Both the House and Senate bills continue support for the NNSA medical isotope program. The Senate version raises the cap on each cooperative agreement from $25 million to $35 million—providing an additional $10 million per agreement in Fiscal Year 2018 and would be available retroactively to each partner, as long as the partner had contributed $35 million of its own funds.
The nuclear medicine community has requested that the final bill include $67.4 million, which would provide the $10 million increase, as well as the remaining $27.4 million needed to finish the program’s existing obligations.