Posts Tagged ‘ childhood leukemia ’

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

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

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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Hospitals Face Dire Shortage of Childhood Cancer Drug

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration says supplies of a drug used to treat childhood leukemia are dwindling. Supplies of methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug given to children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.), are likely to run out in the next two weeks, the New York Times reports.

Without methotrexate, hundreds of children may die from a disease that is usually curable, officials say. A.L.L. is most common in children 2 to 5 years old.

One of the nation’s largest suppliers of methotrexate voluntarily stopped making it this fall because of what the company called “significant manufacturing and quality concerns,” the Times says. The four other American companies that make the drug are trying to increase production. The FDA is also looking for foreign suppliers.

The Times report included the story of Jackson Schwartz, 6, a Pennsylvania child with A.L.L. who needs treatment with methotrexate over the next two months. “It would be devastating if we can’t get this drug,” his father said.

Image: Cancer chemotherapy via Shutterstock.

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