Senator, Oncology Groups Urge Pharma to Boost Production of Pediatric Cancer Drug

A senator and three professional medical associations have sent messages urging pharmaceutical companies to increase production of a pediatric cancer drug that is in dangerously low supply, according to a Washington Post report.

Yesterday, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Cancer Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Children's Oncology Group wrote to the four pharmaceutical companies that produce methotrexate, a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also sent a letter to the companies — APP Pharmaceuticals, Hospira, Sandoz and Mylan.

The senator and associations are pushing for increased access to the preservative-free version of methotrexate, which is necessary for children. Hospitals could run out of the drug within days or weeks, according to the groups. However, APP said it does not have FDA approval for a preservative-free product.

The FDA said the shortages are primarily a result of manufacturing deficiencies that cause production shutdowns, according to the report.

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