With unacceptable chemotherapy shortages, oncologists and pharmacists across the country are scrambling to find appropriate alternatives for treating their cancer patients. Carboplatin and cisplatin chemotherapies are frequently used together for the systemic treatment of many cancers, including lung, breast, prostate, and gynecologic cancers, leukemias, and lymphomas.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) May Survey results from its member institutions serving cancer patients across the U.S. reported serious chemotherapy shortages with 90% of Cancer Centers are impacted. Although cisplatin patients are being able to be treated, only 64% of the surveyed centers are able to treat their patients needing carboplatin. Another 20% report being able to continue this prescription for some but not all patients. Overall, 16% report treatment delays as a result of needing to re-obtain prior authorization for modified treatment plans, but none have met with outright denials.
40% of the centers have received information from manufacturers and suppliers on when the two drugs would be available.
NCCN’s Policy and Advocacy department states “The causes and solutions to the recurrent anti-cancer drug shortages that deprive oncology patients of optimal therapy are multiple and fixable. Effective solutions require a whole of oncology effort if they are to be successful.”