Story 6 Chemotherapy and anti-nausea drugs

Mike works in the pharmacy of a large general hospital. He has noticed transient shortages of certain drugs like Stemetil for control of nausea for patients on cancer treatment. He has not yet noticed a shortage of any chemotherapy drugs; however, he is worried.

For example, the drug, Vincristine, which is effective in childhood leukaemia, has been temporarily in short supply in the USA. Recently, his usual orders for 5 milligram vials of Vincristine have been filled with 2 milligram vials. He wonders why. Is it because the company had an overstock of the 2 mg vials and wanted to use them up before they expired? Or is it because there is not enough supply to make 5 mg vials and respond to all the orders?

Ironcially, vincristine is one of the vinca alkaloids, which were discovered in London Ontario Canada, by Robert Noble and Charles Beer, although now they are made only in the USA.