CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some patients who receive the lifesaving medicine Carboplatin are now being switched to other forms of their drug. NEWS10 has more on what is being done.

“The care of the people in the Capital District is not being compromised,” said Dr. Todd Doyle, President of New York Oncology Hematology (NYOH).  “It is increasingly more difficult to provide the care that they need. The complexity is much greater, but we will not compromise their care and that’s not happening now.”

St. Peter’s Health Partners says, “Although, like everyone, we are feeling the effects of the Carboplatin shortage in that it has been more difficult to obtain, we have not had to reschedule patients or change patient treatment regimens.”

Folks who are receiving treatment may be told their meds are out of supply and they will be switched to another regimen. Director of pharmacy at NYOH, Nancy Egerton, says these drugs are safe replacements. “Studies may have been done using cisplatin, those are the treatment protocols that physicians follow in the case where you can’t get the cisplatin, carboplatin can be substituted, safely.”

Healthcare providers in the Capital Region say they can’t understand why this continues to happen.

Last summer, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) shut down the largest supplier of baby formula because of violations, sparking a nationwide shortage. Just months ago, the FDA did the same at the largest manufacturer of chemo drugs for violations of operational standards.

“In general, the whole industry needs to be redone. As far as they need to make sure there are companies in this country who are willing to manufacture generic drugs, and make sure that there are resources to patients,” said Egerton.

Local law makers are taking a stance.

 Representative Paul Tonko says,

I am deeply concerned by the recent drug shortages across our Capital Region and nation that have impacted patients, health care professionals and, in particular, individuals seeking cancer medication. My colleagues and I held a hearing last month spotlighting the ongoing drug shortage and I have written directly to the FDA to express my growing concerns about the harmful impact of this shortage and what can be done to solve it. We must use every option at our disposal to safely expand production and access to all. I am continuing to push for solutions to this crisis.”

Representative Elise Stefanik says,

“My office has heard from many families who are struggling to access life-saving medications. I will continue to work to alleviate the uncertainty that numerous cancer patients are facing in my district. I strongly believe drug availability and quality are critical for every American and will continue to work to modernize and improve the FDA to strengthen our supply chain, increase domestic manufacturing, and promote the adoption of quality, low-cost generics.”

The FDA offering the following statement in regard to medication supply disruption:

“To note, the FDA tracks product availability at the national level and receives information from manufacturers about their ability to supply the market. The FDA lists certain products on our website when the total supply of all versions of a commercially available product cannot meet the current demand, and a registered alternative manufacturer will not meet the current and/or projected demands for the potentially medically necessary use(s) at the patient level. Please see our FAQ website, which provides additional information regarding the differences between our availability determinations and ASHP’s website, specifically why something may appear on their list but not the FDA’s, despite local increased demand that may be observed. Please check our website for any updates regarding availability of certain drugs, including information on the reason for specific availability issues and when they are expected to resolve.

Importantly, regarding potential supply disruptions due to increased demand — while companies are required to notify the FDA of supply disruptions (such as an issue obtaining raw materials), there is not currently a law that requires companies to notify the agency of increased demand. The FDA continues to encourage companies to notify the agency when there is a spike in demand so that they can work with them early on to mitigate or prevent any impacts on availability.”