Closing the Gap on the Cancer Drug Shortage


Six months after President Obama signed an executive order with the intention of giving the Food & Drug Administration the help and power that it needed to bring an end to the drug shortage crisis in the US, the commissioner of the FDA is reporting that things are on the mend.

FDA Commissioner highlights the improvements

An informal voice blog posted by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD outlined some of the improvements that have occurred since the President's executive order, among them, that the number of newly reported drug shortages thus far in 2012 is 42, down from this time last year, when the number was 90. Furthermore, she claims that thanks to an early notification program, another 128 potential shortages were prevented.

In her voice blog, Dr. Hamburg drew attention to the most serious issues pertaining to anti-cancer medications, noting that:

  • Methotrexate is no longer in short supply and that the agency does not expect any further supply issues;
  • the FDA was able to import an Indian brand of the drug Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil) to meet demand until the US supply can catch up;
  • with regard to leucovorin injection, which is often used with methotrexate, Hamburg said that the FDA is working with Teva Pharmaceuticals to boost production and improve supplies over the coming weeks; and
  • finally, she touched on Mechlorethamine (Mustargen), saying that the supply issue will be over by summer and that the drug will be available by August.

Source: Medscape

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