Cancer Drug for Kids in Short Supply

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Bob Hallinan

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           A vital chemotherapy drug used to treat many types of childhood cancer is now in short supply. It’s called vincristine, and it has only one manufacturer, Pfizer, which the Food and Drug Administration says has been experiencing production delays. Some doctors say they may have to begin rationing doses to make the current supply last.

            Dr. Jyoti (pronounced joe-tee) Panicker is a pediatric oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. In the video, she explains what the drug vincristine is used for, and the fact that there are no good alternatives. She talks about how doctors are treating kids with work arounds…and how they sometimes have to make difficult choices on who get the drug. She explains what caused the shortage in the first place, and how hospital pharmacies are dealing with the problem. Dr. Panicker also says there’s good news…the company has begun ramping up production, and the shortage could be over in as soon as a month.