‘Ottawa’ Cost of Nuclear Medicine Skyrocketing, Doctors Say Patient Access to Tests Could be Limited
Nuclear medicine doctors are sounding alarms about the skyrocketing cost of medical isotopes, something they say could limit patient access to sophisticated tests for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
The cost of some nuclear medicine have increased by as much as 1,000 per cent recently, say physicians, partly as a result of the shutdown of isotope production at the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River this fall.
The rapid price increase is “significant enough that hospital budgets will either have to be revised or they will have to decrease procedures,” warned Dr. Norman Laurin, past-president of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine. Tight hospital budgets in Ontario and elsewhere leave little wiggle room to absorb massive price hikes in the compounds that are used for diagnostic scans.
One result will likely be greater use of CT scans for diagnostic tests, which, in some cases, are less accurate