TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — A nationwide cancer drug shortage is impacting hundreds of thousands of patients and leaving them with very few other treatment options.
Leaders at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute said there are shortages of Carboplatin and Cisplatin, vital treatments for lung, breast, ovarian cancer and more illnesses.
“We do have a little bit of these drugs to treat patients, but if you questioned everybody today what are we going to get tomorrow, the answer is nothing,” said Paul Chadwick, the Chief Procurement Officer at Florida Cancer Specialists.
Oncologists say their hospitals are running out of the drugs due to manufacturing issues and an increase in demand.
“A low-cost generic where some manufacturers have just candidly admitted that they can’t produce at the price that they would need to,” Chadwick said.
Florida Cancer Specialists are calling on lawmakers to step in and help.
“It’s difficult having cancer and very difficult having to explain to a patient that there’s no drug there to treat them the best way as possible,” said Dr. Lucio N. Gordan, President & Managing Physician at FCSRI.
Gordan points to drug pricing regulation as a way to fix the supply problem.
“When the prices get too low, it’s just not sufficient for a manufacturer to keep the lines open at the demand that’s in the market and that affects us as clinical providers and patients and families,” Dr. Gordon said.
In the meantime, Florida Cancer Specialists are doing what they can to treat patients.
“Our clinical teams have been looking through all the data and clinical trials to see what’s the third best option we can turn to,” Chadwick said. “Now we’re on to the less efficacious but still having therapies with some efficacy for these patients.”