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FDA Eases Shortage Of Leukemia-Fighting Drug

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Mary Bubala 370x278 Mary Bubala
Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—A critical shortage of a drug needed to treat childhood leukemia may be over– for now.

Mary Bubala has more on an important update to a story WJZ reported earlier this month.

With the lives of thousands of children with leukemia at stake, on Tuesday the FDA announced a new supplier for the drug methotrexate, which is in very short supply, in part because it has a low profit margin for drug companies.

They announced new supply lines for the life-saving drug.

As WJZ reported, methotrexate was one of the medications that saved the life of Brenda Frese’s son Tyler, who was battling leukemia.

The University of Maryland women’s basketball coach and her husband are on a mission to push the FDA and drug companies to increase the supply of these crucial drugs.

“I can’t imagine them telling us there’s a drug there that’s going to help save your kids life but it’s not available,” said Mark Thomas.

Brenda Frese and Mark Thomas urged lawmakers to investigate.

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings and Senator Amy Klobuchar are pushing bipartisan legislation to beef up the FDA’s power to prevent shortages like this in the future.

“I just wish some of my colleagues would meet some of these little kids with no hair, who’ve been through treatment and are surviving, but then find out in the middle that there may not be a drug available for them the next day,” said Klobuchar.

The FDA is also increasing the supply of a drug that treats ovarian cancer that hasn’t been available for new patients for months.

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