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New Research Indicating Serious Potential Risks To Cancer Patients From Oncology Drug Shortages
Date:3/21/2013

e to drug shortages is particularly concerning for patient safety. In some cases, similar chemotherapy simply does not exist or there may be limited data available for the alternative drug. Recent data from another study linked use of alternative chemotherapy due to shortages to a greater risk of relapse in Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Our survey also shows that using alternative agents can also be error prone or lead to adverse events," James M. Hoffman , PharmD, MS, the study's senior author and Medication Outcomes and Safety Officer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In specific cases, respondents mentioned that change to protocols, omission of medications from clinical studies, and stockpiling of drugs were enforced in order to continue clinical trial completion. According to the survey, 44% of institutions claimed drug shortages affected clinical trials, with 44% mainly experiencing delays in patient enrollment and/or 67% choosing not to enroll patients at all.

"Oncology drug shortages can lead to devastating effects, as there is little interchangeability between oncology drug therapies. The loss of one drug, as seen with cytarabine [for treatment of AML], can prevent the effective use of a myriad of chemotherapeutic regimens for leukemia. In other cases, oncology drug shortages may affect numerous disease states as seen with leuocovorin or liposomal doxorubicin. The clinical impact of these shortages has lead to numerous adverse clinical outcomes," says Ali McBride , PharmD, MS, BCPS, study author.

Niesha Griffith , MS, RPh, FASHP, incoming HOPA President, stated that "HOPA is committed to continuing its advocacy efforts and working with government agencies, and other patient and provider organizations who represent the best interests of individuals and their families suffering from this disease." HOPA feels strongly that individuals with cancer
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SOURCE Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA)
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