Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

'Shortages' of Cancer Drugs


Several chemotherapy drugs have made the list of those in short supply, according to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog. Cancer patients across the US are being told that they must find alternatives to their planned therapies, says blogger Katherine Hobson. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, — which keeps a growing shortage list, now numbering 140 different medications — says several doxorubicin products are in limited supply because of manufacturing problems and an unexpected increase in demand. Vincristine, which is used to treat leukemia and some pediatric cancers, is also becoming scarce, Hobson says, as are lung and testicular cancer drug etoposide, and testicular cancer drug cisplatin. Unfortunately for patients, most of these drugs don't have suitable alternatives — studies have shown that patient outcome improves when these drugs are added to therapy regimens and doctors worry about giving patients "suboptimal treatment" without them, Hobson says. Researchers are investigating long-term solutions for these shortages, including the possibility of pushing back so-called arbitrary expiration dates on some pharmaceuticals.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.