Beyond the challenges planned to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the US, we need to keep abreast of news from around the world affecting access to care , such as these headline stories:
Darcy Malard-Johnson, a pharmacist at the University of Minnesota’s cancer clinic, said 13 of the 150 drugs on the current shortage list are cancer drugs. Most have been around for years, she said, and that may be one of the problems. Because they’re generic, they’re not as profitable to make or sell as newer drugs. And there’s no way of knowing when a company will simply decide to stop making it.
The shortage of oncology drugs in particular was also highlighted in NCI Cancer Bulletin in an article entitled Continued Shortage of Chemotherapy Drugs Causing Concern.
The FDA’s Drug Shortages website includes current shortages, status updates, and a list of drugs to be discontinued, per the following terms:
Companies are required under 21 CFR 314.81(b)(3)(iii) to provide FDA with a six month advance notice of the discontinuation of sole source products that are life-supporting, life-sustaining or for use in the prevention of a debilitating disease or condition. From time to time, FDA also receives notification for other products. These discontinuations are provided below for informational purposes only.
Health Canada currently does not conduct such monitoring or provide information on drug shortages, actions that the Canadian Pharmacists Association has urged the government to take on quickly to address the serious and growing problem.