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Tags: chemo | cancer | supply chain | drugs

Shortage of Chemo Drugs Strains U.S. Drug Supply Chain

By    |   Wednesday, 14 June 2023 08:01 PM EDT

A critical shortage of chemotherapy drugs is fueling calls to fortify the U.S. drug supply chain, as advocacy groups and lawmakers argue that heavy reliance on a few manufacturers exacerbates the problem.

According to Axios, the shortage of cancer drugs, including the widely utilized cisplatin and carboplatin, has forced medical practitioners to resort to rationing care.

Marina Sharifi, a medical oncologist at the University of Wisconsin's Carbone Cancer Center, expressed her disbelief, saying, "This is the first time I've ever experienced drug rationing in my career."

Axios' report follows after the FDA earlier this month granted temporary authorization for the importation of a non-FDA-approved version of cisplatin from a Chinese manufacturer. Although this has provided some relief in certain areas, clinics that switched patients to other platinum-based treatments are now grappling with shortages, leading to a precarious game of pharmaceutical patchwork.

The shortage stems from a reliance on a limited number of manufacturers responsible for producing drugs that treat up to half a million new cancer patients annually. A single plant shutdown or quality issue can have a cascading effect, as highlighted by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists' reports of shortages for both cisplatin and carboplatin.

"It's unbelievable that we're in a place where cisplatin, which costs $15 a unit, and carboplatin, which costs $23 a unit, are in short supply and we can't deliver them to people even though, in some cases, they're front-line and lifesaving," lamented Karen Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society.

The shortages have sparked a contentious debate in Congress about the need to expand the FDA's authority over the drug supply chain. Lawmakers are divided over whether the planned reauthorization of pandemic preparedness legislation should include provisions that grant the FDA more regulatory power.

Republicans, such as the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington, and the rRanking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Mike Crapo from Idaho, have requested an investigation into the extent of drug shortages and possible solutions to the issue.

They are also questioning whether the Inflation Reduction Act, which permits Medicare negotiation to lower drug costs but has faced opposition from the drug industry, could be a contributing factor to the problem.

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Newsfront
A critical shortage of chemotherapy drugs is fueling calls to fortify the U.S. drug supply chain, as advocacy groups and lawmakers argue that heavy reliance on a few manufacturers exacerbates the problem.
chemo, cancer, supply chain, drugs
373
2023-01-14
Wednesday, 14 June 2023 08:01 PM
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