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"Although the public may not be fully aware, we are in the midst of a global shortage of medical and other isotopes," said Robert Atcher, Ph.D., MBA, in an interview. "If we don't have access to the best isotopes for medical imaging, doctors may be forced to resort to tests that are less accurate, involve higher radiation doses, are more invasive, and more expensive."
Atcher also noted that the United States is highly dependent on foreign suppliers of medical isotopes. Only about 10-15 percent of the isotopes used in medicine are produced domestically. The nuclear medicine community has been pressuring the U.S. government to develop improved domestic capability for producing these materials to reduce this dependence, Atcher said.