A woman in Ontario writes….
On Friday March 3rd, I was informed that my chemotherapy was cancelled because the drugs that are used in my treatment were not available. I was not told which drug. I take four: Irinotecan, Leucovorin, Fluorouracil, and Avastin. I understand that some drugs were held because there was leakage, and that they have now been made available. But I have not been rescheduled for chemotherapy as yet. I am worried as it is important for me to receive this treatment. When I learn what is happening I will inform you.
One week later: chemo found, and given.
Thanks for the story!
Health Canada indicated that the affected drug was 5-Fluorouracil. Some vials had been found to be leaking and a batch had been held up. The ‘quarantined’ batch is now released and hopefully your treatment will be re-scheduled soon.
However some important points.
1. when one drug is unavailable usually the whole treatment must wait. It does not mean all the drugs are in shortage.
2. the drugshortages.ca tracking site indicates that Canada has experienced shortages in all 4 of these drugs since 2012–more frequently with the off-patent older drugs, than with the one on still patent (Avastin).
3. Cancer drug shortages are not new.