Cancer Drug Shortages on the Rise

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Doctors and pharmacists are reporting a record number of drug shortages this year, drugs needed to treat child leukemia, breast and colon cancer, and infections. It's a trend that's been building over the past few years. Hospitals with the raw ingredients in hand are sometimes resorting to mixing doses themselves and oncologists have had to prescribe medications in less-than-recommended amounts or to delay treatment altogether. Doctors' groups, lawmakers and federal officials are rushing to find solutions, including the creation of a national stockpile of cancer medicines. What's causing the shortfall, and how is it affecting treatments and the lives of patients?  Is over-regulation part of the problem? Why have drug companies stopped making certain drugs?

Credits

Guests:
Gardiner Harris - New York Times - @GardinerHarris, Tom Kornberg - University of California at San Francisco, Gordon Johnston - Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Amy Klobuchar - Senator (D-MN)

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Sonya Geis, Julia Flucht, Andrea Brody