U.S. Cancer Patients Suffering From Drug Shortages

Survey of oncologists finds frequent treatment delays, changes

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Gogineni said she would like to see organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology begin issuing "best practice" guidelines to help doctors best deal with known or anticipated drug shortages.

"When we know there's a drug that's going to be in shortage, it would be relatively straightforward for us to issue guidelines for what's the next best practice," she said.

A separate study conducted by the society and also presented at the annual meeting echoes Gogineni's survey findings. The ASCO survey found that nearly 60 percent of physicians surveyed were aware of ongoing drug shortages in the community. More than 40 percent said the shortages have not been resolved.

Lichtenfeld said he hopes the findings will renew public attention regarding this ongoing issue.

"We had substantial interest in this topic a while ago, starting in 2011, but you don't hear as much about it today as you did then," he said. "The problem remains very real, and this study might refocus our attention on what remains a serious issue for cancer patients and those who care for them."

Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Cancer Society has a guide to cancer drugs.

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