Critical Pediatric Cancer Drug Shortage

One in every two hundred and eightyfive kids in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer before their twentieth birthday. That is astounding to me. And right now the reality of cancer just became harder for families who are supporting a child through their cancer battle. The most widely used chemotherapy drug, vincristine, is in a short supply across the United States. Unfortunately, drug shortages in the United States are fairly common and the challenge with this one is that vincristine is only manufactured by Pfizer. Before July it was produced by Teva & Pfizer, but as of July Teva stopped production. This extra stress on production for Pfizer could be why the shortage is occurring. Health officials predict that the drug will be back in supply by the end of the month, but given the high demand, some predict it could be until December when vincristine is back in full supply. This leaves families and their kids in limbo because with the current status of the shortage many are unsure when their next chemotherapy dose might be.  

Parents and kids battling cancers that include vincristine in their treatment regimen have taken to social media to get the attention of lawmakers, TV stations, and the general public. There was a petition started that is linked here to have the government intervene in resolving this crisis. If nothing else, I think it’s key that the public is informed because cancer has impacted everyone in some way. Especially given that it is childhood cancer receives 4% of the federal funding that goes towards cancer research and treatments. Let’s use this shortage to bring more awareness to childhood cancer today and every day.