Your Source For Disability Information

A drug shortage has been linked to a relapse in cancer, Hodgkin Lymphoma in particular.

Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer typically found in the youth, making up approximately six percent of childhood cancers, in which the cancer cells aggressively attack the lymph system. About 90 percent of those affected by the cancer, however, have been able to continue their life cancer-free by engaging in the seven-drug chemotherapy treatment course, which included the drug mechlorethamine.

In 2002, five institutions engaged in a study to determine the effectiveness of this sort of treatment. The researchers aimed to avoid infertility and other issues while maintaining high cure rate. This is where they found that this particular treatment, using the drug mechlorethamine, saw that “approximate disease-free survival was 88 percent for the 181 patients” involved.

In 2006, a companion study took place that, because of a shortage of mechlorethamine, substituted the drug cyclophosphamine. They found that for the 40 patients that were given this substitute drug, the rate of disease-free survival dropped to 75 percent, prompting the researchers to stop enrolling new patients. They say that there is no valid explanation for the significant difference besides the drug substitution.

Drug shortage is not unique to the healing world, nor is the substitution of another drug to try and counter such unavailability. Even with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) working tirelessly to try and find a solution, these shortages continue to adversely impact the medical world. This event has impelled doctors to beg for “a more systematic solution to the problem” as “it is clear that patients are still suffering from the unavailability of life-saving drugs.”

Monika Metzger, M.D., an associate member of the St. Jude Department of Oncology and the study’s principal investigator stated, “This is a devastating example of how drug shortages affect patients and why these shortages must be prevented. Our results demonstrate, for many chemotherapy drugs, there are no adequate substitute drugs available.”

If your life or the life of someone you love has been negatively impacted because of the lack of a certain life-saving drug, then consult with an attorney who can help you navigate through the necessary fields of law to attain justice and figure out which benefits you are eligible for. There are various steps that can be taken to help aid you through these unnecessary hardships that you deserve to explore.