Dr. Schilsky Summarizes the Oncology Drug Shortage

Dr. Richard Schilsky, from the University of Chicago, Summarizes the Recent Oncology Drug Shortage.

Richard L. Schilsky, MD, professor of medicine and hematology/oncology section chief at the University of Chicago, and chairman of the ASCO Government Relations Committee, summarizes the difficulties and added anxiety created by the recent oncology drug shortages.

Schilsky notes that drug shortages appear periodically and are not all together uncommon. The most recent shortages are for sterile generic injectables that are intended for cancer treatment. This shortage has escalated in recent years, with many drug supplies falling short for longer periods of time. In the past few years, two dozen therapies have been in short supply, Schilsky adds.

Many of the scarce therapies are mainstays for particular cancer treatments and some do not have suitable alternatives. This creates a very difficult situation for physicians, as they struggle to find enough medications for their patients. Additionally, extreme anxiety is created for patients who fear that they will not be able to receive the therapy they need.