Supply of Childhood Leukemia Drug Nearly Exhausted
A medicine to treat children's leukemia is in such short supply that hospitals may run out within weeks; meanwhile, families of people with Alzheimer's disease are clamoring to use a skin-cancer drug after a promising study in mice.
The New York Times: Supply Of A Cancer Drug May Run Out Within Weeks
A crucial medicine to treat childhood leukemia is in such short supply that hospitals across the country may exhaust their stores within the next two weeks, leaving hundreds and perhaps thousands of children at risk of dying from a largely curable disease, federal officials and cancer doctors say. Methotrexate is used to treat childhood leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis (Harris, 2/10).
ABC News: Critical Shortage Of Children's Leukemia Drug
President Obama issued an executive order in October 2011 to reduce the dire shortage. The order instructed the Food and Drug Administration to broaden reporting of potential drug shortages, expedite regulatory reviews that can help prevent shortages, and examine whether potential shortages have led to price gouging. The drug shortage has compromised or delayed care for some patients and may have led to otherwise preventable deaths (Salahi, 2/10).
The Wall Street Journal: Alzheimer's Families Clamor For Drug
In the wake of research suggesting a skin-cancer drug may have benefits in treating Alzheimer's disease, physicians and advocacy groups are getting a flurry of calls from patients seeking to use the drug off-label. The clamor underscores how urgently patients want solutions to the rising tide of Alzheimer's. But experts caution that more research is needed to determine whether the drug, bexarotene, is effective in humans at all, not to mention what the dosage should be (Wang, 2/11).