Tuesday, November 8, 2011


NATIONWIDE - No, no, this post is not nearly as scandalous as you might think from the title. It’s about cancer drugs, which are (in my opinion) far less trendy than something people might try to score in seedy alleys. Doxorubicin is a breast cancer drug that is short supply, believe it or not. Leukemia and testicular cancer also have certain injectable medications that are getting harder to find as well. I first heard a fellow patient complain about shortages while speaking in the south several months ago. 

Sad to say, I kind of dismissed the comment. Well, maybe it was just her local cancer center, you know?  Had to be a fluke, some sort of local issue. Then I went to New York to speak; same thing. Then to Kansas; another identical story. By the time someone attending at event in Iowa (she was from Oklahoma) shared the same news, I was in a full state of alarm. 

From a USNews article:
Dr. Richard Schilsky, past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said "this is very serious, particularly the shortage of cancer drugs." Schilsky noted: "Patients are being called everyday by their oncologist being told that they have to delay their treatment because the drug isn't available ... We have had to set priority lists of which patients are going to get treatment, because we don't always have an adequate drug supply. And it varies week-to-week; sometimes day-to-day."

The question as to why this is happening, or how it is even possible, is a subject of raging debate in the world of social media. I’m not here to speculate about the financial repercussions of manufacturers or government intervention, but I do find this topic worth discussion. Please let me know what you think, and if you are experiencing these issues where you are. The more we all learn and share, the better we can all become!

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