A Survey Highlights the Persistent Lack of Essential Chemotherapy Medications
A persistent lack of essential chemotherapy medications in the US is being reported by some of the biggest cancer Centers in the country.
Survey Findings Reveal Scarcity
According to survey findings issued Thursday by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, 72% of the 29 cancer centers in the nation reported a scarcity of the chemotherapy drug carboplatin, while 59% are currently experiencing a shortage of the medicine cisplatin. Numerous cancers are treated with a combination of carboplatin and cisplatin.
Significant Impact on Cancer Patients
According to the National Cancer Institute, 10% to 20% of all cancer patients are thought to receive cisplatin and other comparable platinum-based medications.
Balancing Act for Medical Institutions
Carlson added, “We were relieved by poll results that suggest patients can still access life-saving care, but it comes at a cost to our overburdened medical institutions. To make the current situation better and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future, we must cooperate.
Treatment Continues, but Concerns Loom
According to the survey’s findings, 64% of cancer treatment facilities said they are still able to administer carboplatin to all patients in accordance with the recommended dosage and schedule, while all facilities said they can still administer cisplatin to patients.
However, only approximately 40% of the centers claim to have heard anything about when carboplatin or cisplatin will be widely accessible from manufacturers or suppliers.
A Call for Collaborative Action
According to Alyssa Schatz, senior director of policy and advocacy for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, “these results show the extensive impact of the chemotherapy shortage.” We hope that by disseminating this poll and urging concerted action among oncology professionals, we can work together to avert future drug shortages and guarantee that everyone has access to high-quality, efficient, equitable, and affordable cancer treatment.
Insights from the Network
A total of 27 of the network’s 33 member institutions that provide services to cancer patients responded to the poll, which was conducted by the network from May 23 to May 31. With the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, the network is an association of top cancer centers in the United States.
A Broader Medication Shortage Challenge
Cancer treatments have been among the most severely impacted as the United States struggles with a persistent medication shortage. According to data from the University of Utah Drug Information Service, there were around 20 chemotherapy medications in active shortage as of the end of March, which is the fifth-highest number of any drug category. These figures show that there are now the most ongoing and active shortages since 2014.
FDA’s Efforts to Alleviate the Shortage
The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it would partner with Chinese pharmaceutical company Qilu Pharmaceutical to import cisplatin to increase availability. The injectable drug will momentarily be made available to patients in 50-milligram vials by the Canadian pharmaceutical manufacturer Apotex.