U.S. Drug Shortages Frustrate Doctors & Patients

via Wall Street Journal

A vial of BCG, a drug for bladder cancer that has been in short supply because of manufacturing problems.

Robin Miller, a 62-year-old oncologist in Atlanta with bladder cancer, was scheduled to receive a potentially lifesaving drug in December. But her doctor’s office called shortly before the appointment to say: “Sorry, we don’t have any. We can’t give it to you,” according to Dr. Miller.

The disruption was due to a global shortage of the drug, BCG, which arose after manufacturing problems at two of the few global suppliers. Without the drug, Dr. Miller feared her cancer would come back and she would have to have her bladder removed, a step she called “barbaric.”

The BCG shortage followed a 2012 mold infestation that halted production for more than two years at an aging factory in Toronto owned by France’s Sanofi SA. The drug’s only other manufacturer for the U.S., Merck & Co., has recently suffered production delays of its own.

Some of the thousands of patients who depend on BCG have resorted to tracking online message boards, calling hospitals and traveling hundreds of miles to find supplies..

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Eric is a Producer at Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc., the world’s largest privately held commercial broker. Eric has over 23 years of experience in the insurance industry and has spent the last 11 years with Lockton. Eric specializes in Health & Welfare Benefits, Retirement Planning, and Executive Benefits. Eric's clients utilize his expertise in the areas of Plan Due Diligence, Transaction Structure, Fiduciary Oversight, Investment Design, Compliance and Vendor negotiation to improve the operational & financial outcome for each client. The Benefit Blog is a place to share that expertise and industry news.
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