With Chinese drugmaker Qilu Pharmaceutical, the US Food and Drug Administration is working on importing cancer medication from China amid an ongoing shortage.
What is the Complete Story?
Amid the ongoing shortage of cancer drugs, FDA, aka the US Food and Drug Administration, and the Chinese drugmaker Qilu Pharmaceutical are working to boost the supply of cancer medication.
Temporarily, Apotex, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, would be distributing 50 milligrams of injectable medication. From Tuesday, it would be available for people by the healthcare providers.
According to the National Cancer Institute, platinum-based drugs and cisplatin are prescribed for 10% to 20% of cancer patients.
When used in treating testicular cancer, cisplatin comes with a cure rate of over 90%, capable of treating cervical, bladder, lung, gastric, breast, ovarian, and head cancers.
However, as the US facing a shortage of cancer drugs, treatments of cancer have become one of the hardest hits. According to recent data, about two dozen chemotherapy drugs were in active shortage by the end of March.
Falling Behind on Inspections
Last month, lawmakers criticized the US Food and Drug Administration for falling behind on inspections of international facilities. Dr. Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, stated that the agency is doing despite the economic issues underlying shortages.
Late Friday, On his Twitter handle, Califf said the FDA recognized the safe supply of critical drugs used in oncology. He added that we’ve taken some significant steps to import foreign-approved cisplatin products temporarily.
The FDA recognizes the importance of a stable, safe supply of critical drugs used in oncology, especially those used in potentially curative or life-extending situations.
— Dr. Robert M. Califf (@DrCaliff_FDA) June 3, 2023
In these situations, the company is required to assess the medications’ quality and take specific measures to ensure the medications are safe for cancer patients. They will continue to help the industry that manufactures and distributes these medications meet all patients’ needs.
According to a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Amanda Fader, the severe shortage of carboplatin and cisplatin affects thousands of patients across the United States.
The doctor added that substituting these drugs will be effective in the treatment. Some of these drugs come with worse side effects. A decade ago, the FDA allowed the importation of the chemotherapy drug Doxil amid a shortage. And it becomes essential to pass the same rigorous inspections and requirements.