Nuclear pharmacists make nuclear doses with generators. These generators only come from two different suppliers, Covidien and Lantheus. All other pharmacies use one supplier for the generators, known as single sourcing, but HeartLight uses both suppliers, which is known as dual sourcing. Using both suppliers costs more but if one supplier goes down, we are still able to get the product we need from the other supplier.
There are currently two commercial providers of Tc-99m Generators in the United States. HeartLight Pharmacy works with both vendors on a weekly basis. One manufacturer can have issues with supplying generators but the possibility of both manufacturers having supply issues in a week is a lot smaller risk. HeartLight is helping to spread the risk at a higher cost to us, all to make sure our customers do not have supply issues that would disrupt studies and revenue at our end users.
Other nuclear pharmacies in the United States only use one vendor. When shortages occur, HeartLight is able to having standing relationships with both vendors and leverage this to ensure Tc-99m supply for our pharmacy. History is the best indicator of this. When there were major shortages in 2010, HeartLight had generator capacity to supply most, if not all, customers that called for our help.
Shortages are often forgotten, but we need to remember that they do happen. If history teaches us anything, it is that events repeat themselves. Now with LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) into play, the supply chains are tighter than they have ever been. With the expenses incurred with moly procurement today, the supply to the manufacturers is tighter than it has ever been. What this means is, not if but when, there is a disruption in the molybdenum supply chain shortages are more likely now than ever.
This is why dual sourcing is now the best way to ensure a non-interrupted supply to your nuclear medicine department so there is never disruption or unexpected costs with the revenue stream.
At HeartLight, we take on the extra costs for our customers’ continued success. Dual sourcing gives us flexibility. If there is a problem with a delivery or a possible shortage from one vendor, we are still able to use our generators from the other vendor to provide doses to our clients without any problems on their end. If we practiced single-source supply and only received our generators from one source, we would not have that flexibility, and our ability to dispense all of our orders would diminish due to the lack of activity.
We know how a nuclear medicine shortage can impact your department and our industry! HeartLight Pharmacy is passionate about providing the nuclear medicine community with patient doses during times of shortage. We will continue to source generators from multiple sources. We employ a fleet of drivers and reliable delivery vehicles that ensure timely dose delivery.