Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Life-Saving Drug is Out of Stock

As if cancer patients didn't have enough to battle, they are facing another obstacle in their fights now --- drug shortages. A shortage of a drug used to treat leukemia and lymphoma, called Cytarabine, is now calling national media attention to this problem. There is no substitute available for this drug.

It saved my life.

Cytarabine was one of the drugs in the "cocktail" for my Acute Myloid Leukemia that saved my life. I cannot imagine being told, "Sorry, there's a shortage, so we need to use a second tier chemo-regimen," or "Sorry, there's a shortage, so we need to stop your treatment early. You could die."

I find it completely unacceptable that a life-saving drug is in shortage, and that the manufacturers didn't have to notify the FDA that this could be a problem. Thankfully, it's getting attention in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and Washington Post.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) have introduced the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act (S. 296), which will provide the FDA with a warning system in the form of notification of discontinuation or prolonged interruption of a medication's production....and help them better deal with shortages.

Take the time to read the few articles above, and your blood will probably begin to boil like mine. Cytarabine put my leukemia into remission -- others should have that same chance. We're talking about a life vs. death issue here ---- this drug is given on Day 1 of the treatment protocol for Leuk patients ---access to it is truly a life saver.

Please take a minute to send a letter to your senators urging them to cosponsor the Preserving Access to Life-Threatening Medications Act....please. If you'd like help drafting a letter, visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Legislative Action Center by clicking here.


  1. Thank you for keeping us aware of current issues!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. That is terrible.

  3. stop collecting money for the cancer research...

  4. Anonymous poster -

    I'm curious why you made that comment?

    This blog post was about the opionion that transparency is needed around manufacturing issues or drug shortages when it comes to critical drugs --- not about the research of those drugs. I'm not saying drugs are evil --- this drug saved my life. And I believe very much in the importance of cancer-related charities to fund programs for cancer patients and/or cancer research to supplement the work.

    So, why the comment about not raising funds to help charity or fund cancer research?


  5. Thanks for posting info about the survey, Julie. Your work is so valuable. We appreciate all that you do to support others affected by cancer.


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