A drug shortage is forcing doctors to reduce doses of chemotherapy. Experts want the U.S. government to protect the drug supply so that over 100,000 cancer patients can get life-saving drugs on time.
Sitting in an infusion center last Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Arnold wondered whether the cancer drug dripping into her vein would be enough to make a difference.
Arnold, 63, was recently diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer. Her surgeon said she needed chemotherapy to knock down the tumors before operating.
But with key medications in shortage, she was told she would get five bags of the drug carboplatin, not the usual six. The nurse at her hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, said they would likely run out completely before her next treatment in three weeks.
“I’m terrified, quite frankly,” said Arnold, a journalism professor at the University of Alaska and former reporter with National Public Radio.
She’s caught up in a frightening and frustrating national shortage of essential drugs that experts say has put the lives of more than 100,000 cancer patients, particularly women, at risk.
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