U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff and VA Augusta address chemotherapy drug shortage
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AUGUSTA, Ga. () – A nationwide chemotherapy drug shortage continues to impact patients and caregivers here in Georgia.

Georgia lawmakers in Congress recently sent a letter to the FDA asking for an update on the status of the shortage.

They want to know what’s being done about it, how the safety of imported drugs is being evaluated, and how drug shortages will be better handled in the future.

“I’m bringing Republicans and Democrats together to launch this bipartisan inquiry with the FDA to get to the bottom of this,” said U.S. Senator for Georgia Jon Ossoff. “What’s the federal government going to need to do, what Congress needs to do to relieve this shortage and make sure cancer patients are getting the treatment they need?”

In a recent survey of 29 cancer centers across the country, 86% of them reported a shortage of anti-cancer drugs.

And in September, the White House said the nation has a shortage of 15 cancer medications due to manufacturing and supply chain issues.

Three of those 15 are considered staple cancer treatments. 

“We really started to see issues in early February of ‘23, there were some concerns with some of the manufacturers for some of the agents like Carboplatin and Cisplatin, and so we started to see a shortage,” said Dr. Jennifer Blanchard, the Chief of Pharmacy, for VA Augusta. “And so that’s certainly concerning when you’re dealing with, in some cases, life and death treatments.”

Luckily, Dr. Blanchard said the problem has gotten better, and crisis was avoided by using a wholesaler.

“They’ve worked hard to make sure that we can get what we need,” she said. “Now, of course we’re a little bit smaller volume than maybe some of your bigger oncology centers, but knock on wood we’ve been lucky to maintain what we need for our veterans.”

Sen. Ossoff said the main things to worry about are sufficient supply, and safe supply.

“This really matters. This is like up there with public safety,” he said. “Is my family safe? Every family asks that question. Every family also asks, God forbid I should get sick, will there be the medicine I need to get treated to get better so I can be there for my loved ones?”

Sen. Ossoff said as soon as the group receives a response from the FDA, they will share it with us and work on taking steps to resolve the issue.

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