Vincristine Shortage Projected

The New York Times and Forbes recently reported that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd will cease production of Vincristine, leaving only one US supplier.


Vincristine is a vital chemotherapy drug used to treat almost every form of chilhood cancer as well as breast cancers, lymphomas, and bone cancers. It is a generic drug, which means it has a low profit margin and over the years fewer and fewer companies have been making vincristine and other generic cancer drugs. There is no comparable alternative for vincristine.


With Teva ceasing production, that leaves only one US supplier, Pfizer, which has been having manufacturing delays. According to the New York Times, the FDA released a statment which read: “Pfizer has experienced a delay, and we are working closely with them and exploring all options to make sure this critical cancer drug is available for the patients who need it.” Pfizer said the company would expedite additional shipments of the drug in an effort to make up for Teva’s withdrawal from the market.


What does a vincristine shortage mean? It means doctors will have to choose which patients will get this lifesaving drug. It means children with more agressive cancers with higher mortality rates may not have access to a drug that could actually save them. It means children, like my son, will die unnecessarily.


OUR CHILDREN ARE WORTH MORE THAN SHAREHOLDER PROFITS.


What can we do?

Write your senator, representatives and each presidential candidate. This isn't something we should have to face. This is a public health issue and our government should be taking steps to secure these types of drugs for its citizens. (I have included a sample letter below.)


If your child is in active treatment contact your child's oncologist and discuss what this means or may mean for their treatment.


Contact your local news station/radio station/newspaper and tell them your story. Include the links to the articles mentioned above and spread awareness.



Sample Letter:


Dear ___________:


I am writing today to ask that you help secure vital cancer treatments for children who are fighting for their lives.


The New York Times and Forbes recently reported that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd will cease production of Vincristine, leaving only one US supplier, Pfizer. Vincristine is a vital chemotherapy drug used to treat almost every form of chilhood cancer as well as breast cancers, lymphomas, and bone cancers. It is a generic drug, which means it has a low profit margin and over the years fewer and fewer companies have been making vincristine and other generic cancer drugs. There is no comparable alternative for vincristine.


Without access to this necessary life-saving medication children will die. Families will mourn children who would otherwise have survived pediatric cancer. This isn't something they should have to face. With only supplier, and no redundancy for such a vital and important chemotherapy agent, shortages will become more common. This is a public health issue and our government should be taking steps to secure these types of drugs for its citizens.


Thank you,

Signed ________







#childhoodcancer #pediatriccancer #vincristine #newyorktimes #forbes #rhabdoidtumor #ALL

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