Pharmaceutical developer Mallinckrodt is telling customers who receive its technetium-99m (Tc-99m) radioisotope to expect a series of price increases over the next few years.
In a letter dated October 10, the company attributed the coming price hikes to the rising cost to produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the radioisotope from which Tc-99m is made.
Specifically, Mallinckrodt cited the need to pay for outage reserve capacity, whereby the company contracts for extra target irradiation positions at nuclear medicine facilities in case another source is offline. Mallinckrodt must pay for that supply even if it doesn't use it.
The company also noted the cost of converting nuclear production facilities from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium for environmental and antiterrorist reasons.
In addition, there are transportation costs, and nuclear reactor operators are passing on expenses related to irradiation charges and reduced subsidies from local governments.
In the letter, Mallinckrodt said it will implement the price hikes over the next few years, "rather than a single, larger increase," to assist customers.
More details are expected in the coming weeks.