FDA Attempts to Stop Children’s Cancer, Other Drug Shortages

Methotrexate, a drug used to treat children with leukemia, is among the drugs that are in short supply in America, prompting President Barack Obama to issue an executive order to prevent future shortages, and the FDA to announce a series of steps to increase the supply of methotrexate and other badly-needed drugs.  CNN.com reports:

“Through the collaborative work of FDA, industry, and other stakeholders, patients and families waiting for these products or anxious about their availability should now be able to get the medication they need,” said FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg….

As for methotrexate, the FDA has approved a new manufacturer of a preservative-free form of methotrexate that is expected to boost the supply. The manufacturer, APP Pharmaceuticals, expects its methotrexate product to become available next month and continue indefinitely.

The New York Times reports that shipments from abroad will also arrive this week.  Some doctors, however, are worried that the current steps will not be a permanent solution to the very serious problem of drug shortages.  “Children are at such risk from drugs in short supply that it doesn’t give me a whole lot of comfort that we’ve moved past one or two of these shortages,” Dr. Peter C. Adamson, chairman of the Children’s Oncology Group, which is financed by the National Cancer Institute, told the Times. “What about the next one? And the one after that?”

Image: Empty prescription bottle, via Shutterstock.

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