FDA utilizes supply chain management to fix cancer drug shortage  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on February 21 that it plans to use effective supply chain management to compensate for a shortage of certain cancer drugs, according to a statement.

"A drug shortage can be a frightening prospect for patients and President Obama made it clear that preventing these shortages from happening is a top priority of his administration," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., said in the statement. "Through the collaborative work of FDA, industry, and other stakeholders, patients and families waiting for these products or anxious about their availability should now be able to get the medication they need."

The FDA responded to a dire shortage of Doxil by importing of a substitute called Lipodox. This drug has not received approval from the FDA, and its importation is only temporary, according to CNN Health. This strategy of temporarily allowing importation is generally only utilized when a drug experiences a critical shortage and FDA-approved medications cannot compensate for the deficient supply.

The government agency has conducted some evaluation of the potential health problems that could be created by the drug, the media outlet reports. The government agency expressed confidence that offering the replacement drug should eliminate the shortage within a week. Patients have been unable to obtain the drug for month, The Los Angeles Times reports. It is used to treat various types of cancers including ovarian.

Supplies of methotrexate have been dwindling as well, and the FDA has granted a new manufacturer with approval to supply the market with a formulation of the drug that is free of preservatives. APP Pharmaceuticals, the drugmaker, has stated that it expects its new product to be available to the market in March, according to CNN Health.

Drug delivery company Hospira released additional supplies of the medication, which resulted in 31,000 vials of the product being transported to healthcare facilities. The drug has encountered supply problems since around 2008, and is used to treat bone cancer and a type of leukemia, the media outlet reports.

"The actions announced today will help to boost the supply of some of the most badly needed cancer drugs by patients across the country," Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society stated, according to the media outlet. "It is critical that the FDA ensure that the added supply of these drugs is safe and made easily available to the patients who urgently need them." 
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