Shortages of Chemo Drugs
It has been very distressing to read about the recent shortages of several important chemotherapy drugs. I know a few women whose treatments have been changed because Doxil was not available. Although the switches may make no difference to their health in the medium or long term, it is very upsetting to make the change and not receive the drug your doctor suggested for you.
This is a bulletin from the NCI. I give you the beginning and then a link:
Continued Shortage of Chemotherapy Drugs Causing Concern
A serious shortage of commonly used chemotherapy drugs that began several years ago and worsened in 2010 is taking a toll on medical facilities and causing concerns among patients and doctors alike, according to representatives from government and professional groups. The continued shortfall is part of a more widespread shortage of drugs, including those frequently used in anesthesia and to treat dangerous infections, and has raised anxiety about patient care and clinical trials in which the drugs, many of them generic, are important components of treatment.
"We've heard a crescendo of complaints and concerns," said Dr. Michael Link, a pediatric oncologist from the Stanford University School of Medicine and president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). It's not possible to quantify the extent of the impact on patient care, Dr. Link noted, but, based on what's known, "it's the worst shortage we've experienced in three decades. In terms of scope, it's huge."
All of the chemotherapy drugs involved in the shortage are in a category known as sterile
injectables, explained Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Drug Shortage Program 1 in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Sterile injectables, in fact, account for 77 percent of the overall shortage.