(WATCH) Chemo Shortage


A shortage of chemotherapy medicine used to treat cancer patients is forcing doctors to make rationing choices, cutting back on how much is used, and deciding which patients do or don’t get it. Lisa Fletcher reports on what’s behind the supply problem.

The following is a transcript of a report from “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.” Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.

Carla Magarity retired to Richmond, Virginia in 2018, after a 38-year career in the health insurance industry. Shortly after, a cancer diagnosis turned her life upside-down.

Carla Magarity: I felt something not right in my lower abdomen. Saw a gynecologist. He sent me to an oncologist surgeon. He said, “It’s likely you have ovarian cancer.”

When Magaraty’s health didn’t improve after her first round of treatment, her doctor ordered a chemotherapy regimen based on a drug called carboplatin.

Magarity: I showed up in May to have my chemo, to find out there’s a national shortage of carboplatin.

Lisa: How critical is your chemotherapy to your survival?

Magarity: It’s everything.

Doctors say carboplatin and another chemotherapy drug called cisplatin are the backbone of cancer treatment drugs in America. The U.S. gets most of the two medicines from China and India. And there’s been a shortage of both since late 2022.

That’s because late last year, the FDA inspected the pharmaceutical plant in India, responsible for making about half of the U.S. supply of the drugs, and stopped importation after observing quality control procedures were “not fully followed,” and a lack of “procedures designed to prevent” “contamination of drug products,” among other issues.

At about $20 a vial, both carboplatin and cisplatin are generic and not profitable compared to on-patent, name-brand drugs. So despite the high global demand, few companies produce them.

Rosemary Gibson is the author of “China RX,” an exposé on America’s reliance on foreign drug manufacturing. Gibson says nothing meaningful has been done to make the U.S. drug supply more independent of its adversaries.

Gibson: The current system is very profitable to certain special interests. There’s a handful of American companies that go out around the world, and they scour the earth looking for the cheapest generic drugs — cancer treatments or antibiotics. It drives out the good companies.

Lisa: What are patients to do? What are doctors to do?

Gibson: Doctors ration. And some patients may have to postpone treatment.

A recent survey of cancer treatment centers across the country revealed the depth of the shortage, with more than 90% of the clinics surveyed missing carboplatin, and 70% without cisplatin. That’s leaving hospitals and clinics scrambling to find critical cancer drugs, and rationing them if they do.

Some cancer treatment centers have none of these drugs. Others, like the practice that Dr. Bonny Moore runs in Fredericksburg, Virginia, have limited supplies.

Dr. Bonny Moore: Normally, we don’t have to plan that far out, because you don’t keep weeks and weeks of drug here. You keep a couple of days. But with carboplatin and cisplatin, we have to plan accordingly.

It falls on Dr. Moore’s pharmacist, Ricky Scanlon, to answer those questions, and try to stay one step ahead of need.

Ricky Scanlon: This is our ordering platform. It shows me all the different manufacturers that produce carboplatin that we have availability for. And as you see, they’re all zero.

It’s been like that for two weeks, says Scanlon.

Scanlon: Hold on. Wait. There’s two that just popped up. I’m going to order these right now before someone else does.

A job some suggest would be easier if Americans could rely on these high-demand, generic drugs being made in facilities inspected and operated in the U.S.

Magarity: The long-term solution has to be to fix the dysfunction in the generic drug industry. Why we don’t subsidize American pharmaceutical companies to make these drugs, and the FDA can make sure that they’re being made correctly?

Since July, Carla Magarity hasn’t been able to get carboplatin, so she was put on a less-desirable drug regimen meant to slow the growth of her ovarian cancer, as opposed to aggressively treating it.

Lisa: This is to span the gap until you can get back to the carboplatin, right?

Magarity: Yes.

Lisa: And when do you think that’s going to happen?

Magarity: My doctor has a very small amount. His comment to me was, “I’m not holding my breath.”

Lisa: What’s a patient supposed to do with that?

Magarity: Write your will. Make sure you’re ready to die. I have lived a good life. I would like to live more of it. There’s no excuse for this. There’s no way you can defend this.

Even as Magarity confronts her mortality, she says she’s driven to make sure she and millions of other cancer patients are heard.

For Full Measure, I’m Lisa Fletcher in Midlothian, Virginia.

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6 thoughts on “(WATCH) Chemo Shortage”

  1. Lisa Fletcher,

    Have you read about FDA’s
    consideration of removal
    of BROMINE from drinks ?

    You’re not old enough to
    recall adults saying to
    some out-of-control gal
    or guy : “Take a bromide.”

    Read this section from my
    report, “Who had . . . “ :

    =======
    =======
    #2) Who had removed IODINE from bread products in ‘73, then
    replaced that health-protecting mineral with a known
    anti-anxiety molecule ? : B R O M I N E (( recall the snarky advice
    to emotionally troubled people in the 1950s : “Take a Bromide !”;
    and read, “The Iodine Crisis,” by Lynne Farrow, for an in-depth
    report about an apparent nationwide ( purposeful ) plan to damage
    our health )) :

    [[ Note/Update, July, 2023 : Bromine Molecules Found in Breast Milk
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/20/toxic-flame-retardants-human-breast-milk?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email ]]

    [[ https://www.wcpo.com/fda-works-to-finally-ban-soda-ingredient-outlawed-in-other-countries ]]

    —Lack of iodine fattens
    —people, invites ( breast )
    —cancers, and lowers I.Q.
    —in infants/children by 5
    — or more points (fluoride
    similarly lowers I.Q. : rat
    poison injected into our
    water supplies ). Who ?

    – snip –
    =======
    =======

    Lisa, lack of iodine is causing
    breast and prostate cancers
    —and a HOST of other health
    problems,

    Chemo has been ( is ) one of
    the most deadly and useless
    ways to treat cancer.

    In 1973 or ‘74, nighttime TV host
    Tom Snyder had interviewed
    the recently retired president
    of the American Cancer Society :

    Tom: “Do you think there’ll ever be a cure for cancer ?”

    President : No !

    Tom: “Why not ?”

    President: “The money will stop flowing.”

    Lisa, find and
    study the
    above-mentioned
    book. And study
    Nutrition Science !

    -Rick

    1. Rick-Very astute observations and recall! The Healthcare industry has been a sickness maintenance model ever since Rockefeller began funding medical schools a century ago! It was never about health care. Money and population control have always been the defining parameters for the profiteering pirates we know as a ruling elite or cabal. I’ve lost several family members to the medieval chemo-treatment ruse. Holistic healthcare practitioners have been deliberately suppressed, oppressed, and financially derailed in deference to the “fake” science that regulates the medical hierarchy. Meanwhile, the FDA has been trying to outlaw health supplements and smear herbal and alternative treatments by labeling all of these legitimate avenues for health maintenance as ‘quackery!’ Corruption and deceit rule the roost when it comes to the Pharmafia and Medical Hell care in the USA.

      1. Riki Tiki Tavi,

        All Correct—re your reply,
        particularly the Rockefeller
        connection.

        =======
        =======
        #3) Who had inverted the food pyramid in the ‘70s ? : High
        carb diets fatten people while high protein diets slim the
        body ( see Keto diet books ). I recall my health teacher in
        the 1950s, teaching how poor people appear obese because
        they can’t afford meat at meal times—relying on far less
        costly high-starch/-carb foods.

        #4) Who had elevated sugar as “not harmful” while removing
        those critical health-protecting fats ( saturated ). Trans fats
        are very bad, which have been used in the fast-food industry for
        decades, to harm us—all while over-consumption of S U G A R
        actually causes heart attacks and diabetes and cancer
        and strokes and . . . ( find and read, “Sugar Blues,” by William
        Duffy ) ? :

        – snip –
        =======
        =======

        -Rick

  2. I think most people now know that almost all cancers love glucose as their primary fuel. So go to a functional medicine oncologist and ask for Insulin Potentiation Therapy. Basically they put you on a strict diet with no sugar or starch and very little food for 2 days so the cancers starve and need glucose to survive. Then in the Dr’s office they give you some insulin to drop your blood sugar further. Then they give a low dose of chemo since its going where is should go and kills the cancer cells, but not the good cells. If I was in this situation, i would dig into this therapy. Oh and your regular oncologist will make less money, so….

    1. Don,

      Right !

      How many lives have
      been lost to suffering,
      then death, by sugar ?

      Millions ?

      That “Sugar Blues” book
      points out how the col-
      lection of scientists, who
      preceded the FDA in the
      ‘20s – to secure and pro-
      tect and promote food
      safety – had warned of
      the dangers of Table-
      Sugar consumption—but
      Coca-Cola had lobbied to
      shut down any truthful
      warning about that deadly
      danger.

      Yes, as Harvard U. science
      department had warned, in
      the 1980s :
      “Sugar
      is
      as
      addictive
      as
      heroin.” So I, too, weaken
      on occasion. Then, as one’s
      immunity is compromised
      by sugar, for about 5-hours,
      I feel a cold developing in
      the A.M.—then take an alka-
      lizing mineral or “Glyco-
      Thymoline” (( one eye-drop-
      per-ful of that mouthwash,
      under the tongue )) to fully
      recover.

      -Rick

  3. Isn’t it odd that there is a shortage of life-saving drugs from China, but not a shortage of the life-taking drug fentanyl?

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