Amid cancer drug shortage, 'every drop of chemotherapy' used at hospitals

Some hospitals are scraping vials to offer enough cancer drugs for their patients as the U.S. faces about two dozen chemotherapy shortages.

About 300 drugs are in short supply, including cisplatin, which is approved for bladder cancer and is used off-label for 10 other cancers; methotrexate and docetaxel injection, which are used for multiple cancers; fluorouracil, or 5FU, which is typically paired with newer chemotherapies; Pluvicto (lutetium Lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan), a prostate cancer drug; and carboplatin, an ovarian cancer drug.  

At Tallahassee (Fla.) Memorial Hospital, workers are dipping into emergency supplies to provide care for their 80 cancer patients, and a professor at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Medicine told ABC affiliate WJLA pharmacists are using "every drop of chemotherapy."

Amanda Nickles Fader, MD, a professor and the vice chair of gynecologic surgical operations at John Hopkins, told the outlet she has not heard of any hospitals placing cancer patients on waitlists for treatments. 

Some of these shortages are expected to last for months, and some resupply dates have been delayed, including cisplatin, which was originally expected to return in mid-February before predicted release dates were postponed to as late as June. 

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins leaders said they are employing mitigation strategies as they wait for supply to return to normal levels.

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