GA Cancer Drug Shortage

If you rely on Taxol to treat your cancer, you may be in trouble. Several Georgia cancer facilities are reporting difficulty in obtaining some cancer drugs.

According to the FDA:


"We are continuing to see these increased numbers for shortages, especially for older sterile injectable drugs," said Valerie Jensen, director of the  FDA Drug Shortages Program. "These drugs are mainly used in hospitals and include cancer drugs, drugs needed for patients undergoing surgery and emergency drugs."

The reasons for the shortages vary. Some drug manufacturers are discontinuing older drugs and replacing them with newer ones, which are usually more profitable, according to the FDA. They are also recalling some drugs because of quality problems.



Dr. Bancroft Lesesne, chief executive officer and president of Georgia Cancer Specialists, said the drugs affected are most commonly used in breast, lung, lymphoma and colon cancer treatments. "There's a standard treatment we might recommend to a patient based on the disease and the stage," he said. "If the drugs aren't available we have to make substitutions. We think they're just as effective but you can never be quite sure."

"I don't see [the shortages] getting any better," he said. "One drug will become available and then there's a shortage of another. It's seems to be a moving target."

‚ÄčThis is a serious problem for Georgia cancer patients.

Many major medical plans sold in Georgia do NOT cover brand name drugs, including many of the popular cancer medications. If you own one of these plans from Aetna, Blue Cross, Golden Rule or other health insurance companies the time to change your coverage is now. Ask for a free, no obligation review of your existing coverage.

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