June 15, 2009
For immediate release
OTTAWA - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced today the approval of a new source of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) for Canada.
Health Canada has authorized Lantheus Medical Imaging of Boston, Massachusetts to use Molybdenum 99 (Moly-99) produced by the Open Pool Australian Light-water (OPAL) reactor to make Tc-99m for diagnostic imaging in Canadian health care facilities. Health Canada's approval means that the Moly-99 produced by the OPAL reactor is safe and effective for use by Canadian health care providers.
"This is very good news for Canadian health care providers and patients," said Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
"Health Canada has been working hard to secure alternative supplies of medical isotope Moly 99 since the Chalk River shutdown occurred. Active engagement with the international community has produced results."
Lantheus expects to begin receiving Moly-99 from the OPAL reactor over the next few weeks. The Tc-99m produced from this new supply source will begin entering the Canadian supply chain as soon as possible.
Rapid approvals for alternate supplies of isotopes were a part of the regulatory tool kit put in place after the 2007 Chalk River shutdown. Today's announcement reflects just one of many measures the Government is undertaking to minimize the impact of the shortage on Canadians.
Other measures being undertaken by Health Canada include:
Other areas of focus include discussions with reactor operators abroad to ramp up production, expediting the regulation of isotope alternatives, and working with the medical community and provinces and territories on contingency plans to manage the shortage.
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Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health