The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug to be used in bone scans.
Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is traditionally used in bone scanning. This is the only approved tracer for scanning bones as mandated by law. Since it has a shorter life span, there was shortage of supply.
Unlike the Tc-99m, the supply for sodium fluoride F18 is abundant. Scanning of the bones is very important for those who are suffering from cancer. It is especially needed by those who have breast cancer and prostate cancer. Sodium fluoride F18 was approved in the year 1972 but because Tc-99m was less expensive and at that time, it was still available, it was withdrawn in 1975.
Sodium fluoride F18 in terms of cost, is much higher than Tc-99m. They can be produced through medical cyclotron that are available in various universities and suppliers in the United States. Using this instead of the Tc-99m, the SPECT imaging produces better images. Detection of any deformities can be easily seen and can be prevented through these better scanned images.
The discontinuation of the drug was neither because of safety problems nor of efficacy but to lower the cost of the procedure.