CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — NEWS10 ABC has been following the cancer drug shortage affecting many in the Capital Region. With growing concern for other medications in short supply, NEWS10 has an update to the situation and what New Yorkers can expect going forward.
In previous coverage, NEWS10 reported on a major cancer drug shortage and how cancer patients in our region were being affected by the short supply. Some were told their drug will change, and some were told to look elsewhere.
“I just kept asking how this could be possible, that this could happen, you know. I just couldn’t believe it,” Susan Dyson said.
Back in May, Dyson alerted NEWS10 to the effects of the shortage. She was one of the first patients to be told she needed to look elsewhere for her medication.
Since then, NEWS10 reported on action from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that would reverse their decision on the ban of dugs from Intas Pharmaceuticals in India, which was based on numerous violations at the plant. The FDA allowed the company to produce some of the needed drugs. A quick check of the FDA website and there has yet to be any movement from Intas on the lifesaving drugs.
NEWS10 has made several attempts over the last couple months to contact Intas. They have yet to respond to any of our inquiries.
New York Oncology Hematology (NYOH) Director of Pharmacy Nancy Egerton said the government needs to act.
“There needs to be collaboration between the FDA and the federal government to work together on the resolution regarding the generic manufacturing of drugs in this country,” said Egerton.
According to lawmakers, the drug shortages have increased 30 percent since 2021, and it is the worst it has ever been. At a news conference in Gloversville on Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer presented a four-prong solution that calls on the FDA to activate a plan that will limit shortages going forward.
“Today, I am calling for the FDA to take action to urge, to address, these shortages,” Schumer said. “But I’m urging Congress and working with Congress to take swift action.”
The plan includes the following four steps:
1. More transparency. The administration, doctors, hospitals and patients need to know when a shortage is coming, when demand is outpacing supply, where companies are sourcing their raw materials from, when there are safety issues, and more.
2. Making sure there are enough manufacturers producing drugs at enough volume to have reserve and contingency supplies.
3. Numerous shortages are caused by safety and quality control problems at manufacturing plants and improving safety and quality standards
4. It creates a series of vulnerabilities and problems when the country’s generic drug market is so reliant on foreign actors
NEWS10 will continue to follow the drug shortages and provide updates on any developments.