Technetium-based imaging agent temporarily unavailable due to shortage

A technetium-99m-based imaging agent used in over 600,000 procedures annually will be unavailable until well into October, according to its manufacturer.

Radiopharmaceutical firm Jubilant DraxImage earlier this month notified its customers by letter that shortage of the technetium-synthesis kit dates back to a switch in suppliers last year.

The kit consists of reaction vials containing the sterile non-pyrogenic, non-radioactive ingredients necessary to produce Technetium TC99m macroaggregated albumin (MAA) infection for diagnostic used by intravenous injection. It's a lung imaging agent that is used in the evaluation of pulmonary perfusion in adults and pediatric patients.

According to Jubliant Draximage, most North American manufacturers have ceased development of MAA because of the challenges involved in producing the product, leaving Jubilant Draximage as the sole North American supplier.

"The manufacturing of our MAA kits continues to be the highest priority in our production schedule and we are taking every possible step to remedy the situation as soon as possible," the letter stated. "We understand and recognize the importance of this supply disruption to you, your customers and their patients and we will keep you updated as information becomes available."

Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging President Gary Dillehay told MolecularImaging via email that his organization is "very concerned with the announced shortage. "These non-radioactive kits, mixed with Tc-99m pertechnetate [a radioactive compound], are used to perform radionuclide lung scans to assess the presence of a pulmonary embolism in the lungs," Dillehay said. "This procedure is performed approximately 640,000 times a year in the United States. There is currently no alternative source of these kits.

"We are currently exploring options for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals during this supply disruption and will keep the community informed of any developments that will help meet patient needs," Dillehay added.

To learn more:
- see the letter from Jubilant DraxImage (.pdf)
- read the article in MolecularImaging.

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