Over the past few weeks I've been reading a number of articles on chemotherapy drug shortages. Here is just one video and article on the topic.
On June 16, 2011 Paclitaxel the generic brand of Taxol was put on the American Society of Health System Pharmacists current shortage list(ASHP). These drugs are manufactured in various milligram dosages from 6mg too 300 mg. The reasons given in the bulletin were:
Manufacturing shortage - Teva
Increased demand - APP
No reason - Bedford
There is no direct substitution for paclitaxel.
On June 23,2011 ASHP added carboplatin solution for injection to the list.
The reason for the shortage was given as:
Manufacturing shortage- Sandoz, Teva, Hospira
Discontinued manufacturing in May 2011- Bedford
These two chemotherapy drugs are the standard of care for women initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer and for many who recur. Paclitaxel is also used by women diagnosed with breast cancer and off label for other cancers.
From the ASCO in ACTION website I learned:
I am happy that some action is being taken by Congress to address this issue that effects cancer patients throughout the country.
Carboplatin and Paclitaxel are just two drugs on this list. There are other chemotherapy drugs listed as well. Will lives be lost due to this drug shortage? How much worse will the impact be on patients treated at small chemo clinics?How many patients will have their treatment delayed or switched? What about Taxol? Why is there not a shortage of the name brand?
Let us hope that manufacturing rates increase in the near future.
Every Day is a Blessing!