Prominent cancer centers across the United States are sounding the alarm about a worsening shortage of essential cancer treatments, leading to complications in patient care, Your Content has learned.
According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a recent survey revealed that nearly all the surveyed centers are grappling with shortages of carboplatin and cisplatin, crucial drugs used in the treatment of various cancers.
As a result, doctors have been forced to resort to alternative treatments or change the order of drug combinations for patients. The scarcity of carboplatin has even led some centers to be unable to administer the medication at the intended dose and schedule.
Dr. Kari Wisinski, a breast cancer specialist at the UW Health Carbone Cancer Center in Madison, Wisconsin, shared the challenges faced by physicians when discussing the unavailability of prescribed medications with patients and their families.
While healthcare professionals have done a commendable job managing the limited drug supply, it has diverted their attention from other aspects of patient care.
Out of the 27 cancer centers that participated in the survey, 25 reported shortages of carboplatin, with over a third of those centers unable to treat all patients according to the recommended dose and schedule.
Additionally, nineteen hospitals experienced shortages of cisplatin, although they were able to maintain treatments for existing patients.
The shortage crisis began earlier this year when a factory in India, responsible for producing both carboplatin and cisplatin, paused production due to quality concerns following an inspection.
Manufacturing issues, surges in demand, and limited ingredient supplies have collectively contributed to the growing number of prescription drug shortages in the United States.
This year alone, there have been 301 active national drug shortages reported by the University of Utah Drug Information Service, affecting various medications like Adderall and children’s medicines.
To mitigate the chemotherapy shortage, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken some measures, including permitting the temporary importation of foreign-approved versions of cisplatin from FDA-registered factories. However, the major solution lies in restoring full production capacity to the Indian factory.
Mike Ganio, an expert on drug shortages at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, emphasized the need to address the root causes of these shortages to prevent their recurrence in the future.
This longstanding issue requires comprehensive solutions for sustainable drug supply in the healthcare system, according to AP News.