According to the Food and Drug Administration, several generic cancer drugs are suffering dwindling supplies, creating stumbling blocks for treatment programs. The past two years have yielded sizable spikes in shortages, many of which are generic injections used to treat testicular and breast cancer.
MSN spoke to the former president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, who calls the shortages “very serious.”
“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.”
Potential causes of the shortages include discontinuation of low revenue-generating drugs, a lack of raw materials, manufacturing problems, rising demand and the FDA’s own drug production plant inspection process. The FDA disputes the latter reason, saying its inspection process does not stop companies from correcting problems and re-starting production.