National drug shortage impacts cancer patients

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Peyton Newman

Fourteen chemotherapy drugs are involved in a nationwide medication shortage, forcing some hospitals to ration or reduce the dosages for its patients.

Two of the drugs, Carboplatin and Cisplatin, are widely used for various chemotherapy regimens, ranging from lung cancer to brain cancer. These drugs are “platinum-based” in their makeup, helping them to be used in a more diverse fashion. These drugs can act interchangeably with one another, but, with both as a part of the shortage, doctors must find different solutions.

In Tuscaloosa, The Manderson Cancer Center has a surplus of medicine to offer its patients. The pharmaceutical team was able to beat the shortage and restock their medications.

Pharmacy Operations Assistant Director Dr. Hind Hamid said this shortage could be damaging to patients.

“Some of these drugs are the backbones for treatment of certain cancers like lung, cervical cancer,” Hamid said. “And some of them have no alternative, so they have to have the medication.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking into lessening current restrictions on importing medication to offset this shortage.

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