Nebraska health providers dealing with a national cancer treatment shortage

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Health officials say a drug shortage is forcing oncologists and pharmacists to scramble for alternative treatments.

Over 70% of cancer centers across the country reported a shortage of chemotherapy drugs in a new survey by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Ninety-three percent reported a shortage on the chemotherapy medication carboplatin.

These medications are used in combination to cure different types of cancer.

In Nebraska, health care providers and hospitals are working hard to find a solution.

“We are also working as a community with pharmacies, hospitals and physicians on a weekly basis, trying to get as much as the medication as we can, and then making sure that the patients who need it the most get it,” said Dr. Stacey Knox, an oncologist with Cancer Partners of Nebraska.

Nebraska Medicine said this situation is not new.

“Shortages are not necessarily a new phenomenon,” said Nikki Yost, a clinical pharmacy manager. “We have processes in place to be as proactive as we can.” 

But the concern this time is more about the lack of alternative treatments.

“The difference between these and other shortages is what is available and what can we get by with different agents,” said Scott Persson, a pharmacist with Bryan Health. “In this aspect, there just isn’t a lot of other options.”

Local health officials said people should not panic, as there are always options available for cancer treatment.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said it would work with a Chinese drugmaker to import these drugs to boost the U.S. supply.

Categories: Health, Nebraska News, News, Top Stories