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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cancer Drug Shortage Over Soon, FDA Says

by Daniel J. DeNoon

Critical shortages of two important cancer drugs may soon be over, the FDA says.

Doxil, known generically as doxorubicin, is a treatment for Kaposi’s sarcoma, multiple myeloma, and treatment-resistant ovarian cancer. It’s been in critically short supply. Now new supplies are pouring in thanks to FDA approval of a Doxil alternative, Lipodox, from a company in the United Arab Emirates.

Methotrexate, hugely important in the treatment of childhood leukemia, has also been in short supply.  A new statement from the FDA suggests that the shortage already may be over.  One supplier has come through with enough methotrexate to supply the U.S. for a full month.

Fresh supplies soon will be coming in from a newly licensed Illinois plant owned by a German health group. The company should begin supplying the drug in March and will continue indefinitely.

FDA actions spurring companies to make earlier reports of possible shortages seems to be getting results. Voluntary shortage notifications have shot up sixfold.

The FDA still maintains a long list of drug shortages, including shortages of some generic ADHD drugs. Shortages of different types of drugs result from different sets of problems. The recent enlargement of the FDA’s drug-shortage office is a hopeful sign.


Posted by: Daniel DeNoon at 3:36 pm


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