Drug Shortages: An update and a solution

September 4, 2013

Yesterday’s New York Times published an opinion piece with an update on the drug shortage situation. The Cancer Support Community blogged about this issue several months ago, and the CSC team has been hard at work providing solutions for people who are touched by a drug shortage. Here is the update for you:

Drug shortages continue. According to the New York Times, as of July 31 of this year, there were 302 drugs on a list of those in short supply. Many drugs used by people with cancer, including chemotherapy and antibiotics, appear on this list.

The cause of drug shortages remains the same. The current reimbursement model has driven the cost of generic drugs so low that there are few resources available to create the ‘safety net’ required to ensure routine maintenance and/or quality adjustments in the manufacturing and distribution chains.

As a person touched by cancer, you have options and you are not alone in this. The Cancer Support Community has established a service through the Cancer Support Helpline to work with individuals specifically facing the situation of a needed treatment being in short supply. You have access to one of our licensed mental health professionals via online chat or by calling 1-888-793-9355 to speak with someone. As a part of your conversation, you may be taken through an Open to Options session which will allow you to better communicate your individual needs to your health care team at your next appointment.

As policy makers continue to work on a solution to this issue, CSC encourages you to take control of your situation by knowing what is important to you as you move through your cancer journey, communicating openly to your health care team and seeking the support you need when you need it.

So that no one faces cancer alone.