Genzyme was forced to temporarily shutter one of its manufacturing facilities last summer when a virus was found to have contaminated its products. According to an article in the New York Times, users of Genzyme's drugs are suffering. "Some of those patients now say they feel betrayed by the company they once viewed as their savior, wondering why Genzyme did not have a sufficient reserve of such vital drugs and how the company could have stumbled so badly in trying to fix its production problems," writes the Times' Andrew Pollack. Patients have to go without two drugs: Cerezyme for Gaucher disease and Fabrazyme for Fabry disease. Both diseases are caused by enzyme deficiencies that damage organs. The drugs are expensive, costing a single user about $200,000 a year. Genzyme says it will have supplies of Cerezyme available on May 1 and Fabrazyme "perhaps in the third quarter," Pollack adds. In the meantime, the FDA is allowing two of Genzyme's competitors, Shire and Protalix Biotherapeutics, to provide patients with their Gaucher disease therapies, before gaining regulatory approval.
Genzyme Drug Shortage
Apr 16, 2010