Kids' Cancer-Drug Shortage Averted

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it managed to avert a “crisis” for kids with cancer by preventing a looming shortage of the lifesaving drug methotrexate, a mainstay of treatment for a type of childhood leukemia.

The shortage is the latest in a series of serious shortages of cancer medications and other drugs that have frustrated doctors and patients over the past year and a half.

Only a few days ago, cancer specialists had predicted they could run out of methotrexate by the end of next week, according to Dr. Michael Link, a pediatric oncologist who is president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The shortfall arose when 1 of the 4 U.S. makers of methotrexate, Ohio-based Ben Venue Laboratories, shut down production late last year because of “manufacturing and quality concerns,” FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said.

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Sources: Gannett News Service, Chicago Sun-Times, Kaiser Health News