sexta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2012

Cancer drug shortage may affect effectiveness of treatment

I have already published an article on this issue from Dr. Craig Nichols (Livestrong), but now the American Cancer Society has recently issued a report on the perils of shortage of important medication used on the combat of cancer. According to Dr. Otis Brawley, CMO of American Cancer Society, last year there have been reported 196 types of shortage of cancer-related drugs, such as Doxil, that helps to prevent ovarian cancer, or methotrexate, used against Acuta Lymphoblastic Leukemia. (see video above). Up to this year, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already registered roughly 115 drugs that are currently in shortage. Many of these medicines, specialists say, are very difficult to replicate and do not commonly have a generic equivalent.

Industries that produce these drugs claim that sometimes there are not economic incentives for production, or that temporary interruptions in the production have been caused by “significant manufacturing and quality concerns”. Be that as it may, the shortage forces hundreds of cancer patients to wait or to resort to less effective drugs.

FDA, in US, and Ministry of Health, in Brazil, have already contend that this situation is beginning to create a “second-hand” market or “grey-market” to drugs that are hard to find. Moreover, prices of these medications have been gouging steadily, rendering low-income cancer patients unable to afford them.

In US, the White House announced last Thursday (Feb 23rd, 2012) that FDA will begin requiring some drug manufacturers to report production interruptions, notably those drug manufacturers that have no generic equivalent and are critical to maintaining life.

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