Cancer drug shortage leaving some without a full dose of chemo treatment

Cancer drug shortage affecting people in the Toledo region
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 6:41 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - As people fight for their lives against cancer, proper medication is one of vital tools. But some in our community are now wrapped up in a nationwide shortage of a medicine that fights the disease.

It’s called Abraxane. The drug is something most have never heard about, but for cancer patients it’s a lifeline.

A 13abc viewer, who doesn’t want to be identified, made her typical weekly visit to the Dana Cancer Center at the University of Toledo Medical Center recently. She was expecting her two-drug treatment as part of her chemotherapy.

“I went in for a treatment recently and I just got the dose of the one drug and I was handed sheets of paper that told about a manufacturing shortage,” that viewer told the 13abc I-Team.

What she did not get was Abraxane, she’s not the only one nationwide. The FDA says on its website is calling this a manufacturing delay. Abraxane is now in limited supply the most recent update says.

It says the drug is temporarily on allocation and when it comes to the estimated shortage duration, it says drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb says an update will be coming mid-November.

“Why wouldn’t this giant company, this giant rich company, why didn’t they do something before it got to this point,” that viewer told the 13abc I-Team.

At UTMC, officials there say they, like so many across the country, have had limited access to the drug. They’re working with individual patients to ensure they have continued access to effective treatment.

Mercy Health’s lead pharmacist says they currently have enough to care for patients currently under the regimen and will continue to monitor the situation.

ProMedica says they’re continuously working on obtaining it and that because of their numbers and usage, they say they have been receiving allocation of the drug. Their oncologists are aware of the possible need to identify treatment alternatives, if there’s a shortage in the future. So far this woman hasn’t had to discuss alternatives. She was hoping to very soon get back on the regimen and keeping fighting with all the tools available.

“I’m just hoping that supply continues. I can’t be without it especially since the cancer right now is in the stand-still stage. It’s not progressing and I don’t want it to start progressing again.”

Bristol Myers Squibb made this statement to the I-Team about the shortage:

Due to manufacturing delays, BMS is currently prioritizing the inventory and distribution of Abraxane to minimize disruption to patient supply. Our top priority is to our patients, and we are making every effort to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We intend to have an update on the duration of supply restraints this month.

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