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Drug shortages should not be

February 17, 2012
Morning Journal News


For someone who has had cancer and needed and received medication to fight it, I cannot imagine being told the drug companies quit making the drug that could save my life.

There are drug shortages all over the United States today, not just cancer fighting drugs. Over 99 drugs were in short supply in 2011 alone, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

However, today, cancer drugs that are desperately needed are in short supply. Doctors and hospitals are fearful the supplies could be gone in a matter of weeks. A lot of the problems are tied to generic drugs because few manufacturers make them and profit margins are not as high as for drugs still under "patent protection."

Methotrexate is needed to fight leukemia in children and is one such drug.

There are bills to remedy drug shortages that have been stalled in Congress since February of 2011. This is wrong. This is a disgrace.

The Food and Drug Administration has said that drug manufacturers are "stepping up production" to erase the shortages of these much-needed drugs. It is up to us to make certain this happens.

I urge you to call your congressman today. There is no time to write a letter. Demand they take action. They are in Washington to speak for us. One congresswoman is trying to tie the drug bill to the highway and transportation bill to "at least" get it moving.

The question has been asked for years: Why isn't there a cure for cancer with all the money that has been donated to research? Many have said that it is because the drug manufacturers don't want a cure. There is no money in a cure. Unfortunately, they themselves have said as much.

There are other drugs that can treat cancers but doctors can't say with the same conviction that these "other drugs" will cure. Is this the answer you want to hear? I don't think so.

Please act now. It could be your loved one who needs medication no longer being manufactured.

Simply tell your congressman to take action on bills pertaining to cancer and other drug shortages. They will know what you are talking about.

They have known for several years.

Rosemary Mackall

Chester, W.Va.



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