Hospitals Face Dire Shortage of Childhood Cancer Drug

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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