Why Brazil may have an advantage at mitigating bladder cancer drug shortage

Finding alternatives to to help mitigate the worldwide shortage of the bladder cancer immunotherapy Bacillus Calmette-Guerin has been top-of-mind for many health experts, according to Medscape.

There has been a worldwide shortage of BCG, used to treat nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, for years. The shortage is exacerbated in countries outside of the U.S., including Brazil, where alternative medicines can be too expensive to use.

A team of experts in Brazil published a study in the Journal of Global Oncology on Aug. 27, explaining the ways they've been dealing with the shortage.

While many of the strategies are the same as in the U.S., Brazil may have an upper hand at mitigating the shortage because it can import other strains of the bacillus that other countries can't, Medscape reported.

In the U.S., only the Tice strain of the bacillus is approved by the FDA. In Brazil, they can import strains from other countries, in addition to using the Moreau Rio de Janeiro strain, meaning they have more access to the drug, according to Medscape.

However, importing BCG from other countries is exponentially more expensive, the researchers warned.

Read the full report here.

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