FDA Eases Shortage Of Leukemia-Fighting Drug

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.

More from Mary Bubala
  • Dopey_Conservative

    Maybe the key is to add some highly addictive painkillers to the cancer meds so more people will take them, the profits go up and big pharma will start producing them again?

  • Kathryn

    What a thoughtless comment! I take methotrexate injections for RA and my condition worsened because I had to go over two weeks without the drug as I could not find a pharmacy that could get it. When the bottle I have now runs out, will I be able to get more on time??? A lot of kids need it for cancer, MTX is used to treat a lot of problems. It makes you sick & makes your hair fall out, there is nothing fun about that not about needing to take pain killers.

    Maybe the government should start producing generic drugs that the drug companies abandon as they can’t make obscene profits with them. It would insure a supply of drugs for those who need them at reasonable prices and it would provide a lot of jobs. Funny thing, I also take Humira and that costs almost $3000 for a one month supply and there is no shortage of that. (It is not available yet as a generic.) The company that makes Humira can still make a profit selling a month supply for $1800 in Canada….so why is it $3000 here??? Price gouging!!!

    Drugs are essential for many people to stay alive and be able to function. I am not usually a fan of more government, but they need to step in and make sure Americans can get the drugs their doctors legitimately prescribe for them, especially those with life threatening conditions.

  • Dopey_Conservative

    The gist of my comment was that I have a feeling that big pharma has all of its production lines pumping out dope for the pill heads, hence they have no time or interest in producing drugs that are a benefit to society.

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