Outcomes4Me is a 2024 Fast Company World Changing Idea! Learn more >>

A call to action: addressing the national shortage of essential chemotherapy drugs

Written By:

Day in a life of cancer patient - portrait of woman at home and office after chemotherapy due to lymph nodes cancer. Woman is 30 year old real cancer cured patient, photographs and videos taken weeks after last chemotherapy session

The United States is currently facing a severe shortage of two life-saving chemotherapy drugs – carboplatin and cisplatin. This is an urgent concern for countless patients across the nation grappling with various forms of cancer, including breast, ovarian, lung, uterine, cervical, and esophageal cancers.

In the face of this critical shortage, oncologists are forced to make devastating decisions, such as delaying treatments, reducing doses, or seeking alternate, possibly less effective drugs. This crisis puts them in a position they should never have to be in – choosing between compromises that can potentially impact the efficacy of cancer treatments.

 

“Having recently completed my own chemo journey, I find it unconscionable that there is & could ever be a chemotherapy shortage. Quite frankly it’s both heartbreaking & infuriating. I can’t help but imagine the countless patients who, like me, depend on these drugs to stand a fighting chance against this formidable disease. The prospect of others being denied what I was fortunate enough to receive hurts my heart. Let’s come together to ensure that no one has to face the uncertainty of a life-saving treatment slipping through their fingers. Remember we are not just patients—we are people first – we are survivors, advocates, and voices that demand to be heard.”

– Courtney Arnold, early-stage, triple-positive breast cancer survivor, Outcomes4Me app user

 

For cancer patients who are already navigating the immense stress and uncertainty that comes with their diagnoses, the anxiety surrounding the availability of life-saving medications is an unbearable additional burden. The fortitude to manage an ideal treatment regimen against cancer is already a formidable one, and securing access to vital medications should not present an added hurdle.

Drug shortages can occur due to several factors, including manufacturing issues, quality concerns, delays, or discontinuations. Manufacturers may have problems securing raw materials, experience production issues, or decide to stop making a less profitable drug. In other cases, a surge in demand can also outpace the current supply, leading to a temporary shortage.

Carboplatin and cisplatin are platinum-containing chemotherapy drugs that have proven to be effective in treating a variety of cancers. These drugs work by interfering with the DNA in cancer cells, preventing them from further dividing and growing. For many cancer patients, these drugs have been the cornerstone of their treatment plans and have significantly improved their chances of survival.

 

Your role: a call to action

This crisis calls for immediate action. It’s time for all of us to come together and advocate for the healthcare needs of all cancer patients. Reach out to your representatives and urge them to find a solution to this severe shortage. To assist you, here’s a sample letter you can use or customize.

You can find your representatives at these links:

Let’s ensure that access to crucial medications isn’t another obstacle that cancer patients have to overcome. Your voice can make a difference. By sharing this information and encouraging others to join in the effort, we can amplify our impact. A heartfelt thanks to Dr. Teplinsky for initiating this call to action!

The Outcomes4Me Community is a powerful platform to do just that. Start a conversation, encourage dialogue, and help spread the word. Together, we can generate the momentum needed to address this crisis and ensure that every cancer patient has access to the life-saving medications they need.

Your voice can make a difference. Be a part of the solution and let’s stand together in this fight.

Related Articles

Preparing for a hospital stay, especially for an extended period, is essential for ensuring comfort...
The life expectancy for stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without treatment can vary...