Drug shortages leading to rationing of cancer care. All Nurses

The increasing number of major drug shortage, generally involving relatively inexpensive generic IV meds, is resulting in harm to pts, as well as rationing of care d/t unavailability of optimal treatment meds.


In Oncology, there are currently severe shortages of cytarabine, doxirubicin, with recent shortages of cisplatin, methatexate, and rescue medication leucovorin. In addition, shortages of amikacin and especially IV bactrim, often essential for treating infections related to immunosupression, add another hazard for chemo pts. Fluid overload and fluid shifts related to chemotherapy cannot easily be treated without lasix, another drug that has periodic shortage. And if they get septic, there is very little levophed to be had. If they need sedation for a procedure, good luck at trying to get enough propofol to do the trick.


I couldn’t get the links in your post to work. I suspect the first is because the article number is missing. I found the drug shortage list and status on this FDA website. Hopefully these drug shortages will be relieved soon with the manufacture and dispensing of sufficient safe drugs to meet patients’ needs.

Beth: It was posted on All Nurses.

Ahh…Found the article here on All Nurses:

Here’s the FDA page where it reports current drug shortages, resolved drug shortages and more – you can even sign up for an email alert. The page in the All Nurses article didn’t work so probably the FDA reorganized its site after that article was posted.

I didn’t go through all the drugs listed in the article but noticed that Furosemide (Lasix) injection is in short supply. Most people who take lasix at home take it orally and there’s no indication on the FDA list that the oral form is in short supply. In fact, most of the drugs listed as being in short supply are injectable medications.

Interestingly, the writer of this blog refers to the shortage of propofol, warning that people with cancer (or others presumably) won’t be able to get this anesthetic for procedures. According to FDA, there has been a shortage of propofol since 2009. The FDA explains that propofol is an old drug and prices have dropped so low that manufacturers can’t make enough on it so they’re not making as much of it. FDA has allowed the importation of a comparable drug, Propoven, made by Fresenius outside the U.S. and has provided information to healthcare professionals to help them use the product safely. Here are some FAQs about the propofol shortage and what the FDA is doing about it.