House approves Upton & Markey bill to address crisis in nuclear medicine Posted in November 5th, 2009 by AdminBSnook in Business, Community, Government & Politics, Health Tags: legislation, nuclear medicine, U.S. House
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, hailed Thursday’s (November 5th) House passage of the American Medical Isotopes Production Act, H.R. 3276. The bipartisan legislation addresses the ongoing crisis in nuclear medicine by ensuring that a robust and reliable supply of the most critical medical isotopes is produced in the United States.
Every year, 16 million medical procedures in the United States rely on the import of the nuclear isotope Moly-99, but the Canadian reactor that has supplied over 60 percent of our Moly-99 for decades is now off-line. The Markey-Upton bill will ensure that this isotope, and the life-saving procedures it enables, will once again be fully available to U.S. patients.
The measure overwhelmingly passed the House by a vote of 400 to 17 and now awaits consideration by the Senate.
“We have a crisis of epic proportions on our hands as shortages of medical isotopes abroad have exposed unsettling vulnerabilities here at home in nuclear medicine,” said Upton. “The House has answered the call to ensure the tens of thousands of Americans who seek diagnosis and treatment every day for afflictions such as heart disease and cancer promptly receive the care they need. With our most reliable supply of medical isotopes currently out of commission, the clock is ticking for the Senate to act. The well-being of countless folks hangs in the balance.”
In addition, the bill will lead more reactors around the world to convert away from weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU). The importance of converting reactors at home and abroad away from the use of HEU has been recently highlighted by the negotiations over providing fuel for Iran’s medical isotope reactor, which was originally fueled with HEU. “Today the House has unanimously approved a landmark measure to ensure there will be an uninterrupted supply of critical medical isotopes,” said Markey. “Every day, medical isotopes fuel tens of thousands of potentially life-saving medical tests across the country. We owe it to doctors and patients to ensure the supply never runs out. I hope the Senate will act quickly so that we can get this bill to the president’s desk and get the production of these critical isotopes back up and running.”
The American Medical Isotopes Production Act has been endorsed by: • The Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals (CORAR) • The Society for Nuclear Medicine • The American Association of Physicists in Medicine • The American College of Radiology • The American College of Cardiology • The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology • The Health Physics Society • Lantheus Medical Imaging • Covidien • Astellas Pharma US • GE Hitachi • Babcock and Wilcox • University of Missouri • The Union of Concerned Scientists • Physicians for Social Responsibility • Nuclear Threat Initiative • Nonproliferation Policy Education Center