Drug shortage for chemotherapy patients, doctors say

STAMFORD, Conn. (NBC) – There is a drug shortage for chemotherapy patients, doctors say.

Oncologists are saying that they cannot guarantee patients will have enough medication for a full round of treatment due to chemotherapy drug shortages.

Doctors and pharmacists at Stamford’s Bennett Cancer Center are hard at work, not just managing treatments for their patients but also a nationwide shortage of drugs for chemotherapy.

Oncologist Anthony Gulati works at the Bennett Cancer Center. He said, “Say if we have a generic drug that we get from one company, sometimes we have to get it from another company. sometimes switching from an IV formulation of a chemotherapy, we have to switch to an oral chemotherapy formulation.”

Stamford Health oncology pharmacy manager Sally Bishay said, “It’s been a struggle. We’ve been able to manage to get all the medications for our patients. So we’ve had zero treatment interruptions so far, but it’s honestly a week-by-week basis.”

The FDA keeps a list of drug shortages. Right now, they include PLUVICTO, used to treat advanced prostate cancer and cisplatin and methotrexate, two common chemotherapy drugs.

Sokhak So, executive director of Stamford Health Pharmacy, said methotrexate is also used in other treatments. So said, “It’s impacting both outpatients and inpatients with these chemotherapeutic shortages.”

The FDA is taking action. Last month, it put out guidance asking manufacturers to give more notice of potential shortages, at least six months.

For now, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone says a committee is working with the administration and the FDA to find solutions to future shortfalls.

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