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Klobuchar presses FDA to address shortage of childhood cancer drug

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar urged the Food and Drug Administration to address the shortage of Vincristine -- a drug used to treat many childhood cancers.

In a letter to FDA’s Acting Commissioner Norman Sharpless, Klobuchar highlighted recent news reports about the Vincristine shortage in the United States and asked several questions regarding the FDA’s actions leading up to the shortage. Klobuchar also questioned whether the required timeframe to notify the FDA when a drugmaker plans to discontinue production was followed, as well as the FDA’s future plans to mitigate shortages.

“I write to express my serious concern about the recent shortage of Vincristine, a critical drug used to treat many childhood cancers -- including more than 1,000 patients at Children’s Minnesota each year,” Klobuchar’s letter states. “An October 14, 2019 news report indicated that the drug’s limited supply is forcing physicians across the country to consider rationing, lowering, or skipping doses for patients. Since there is no appropriate substitute for the drug available in the U.S., the current lack of Vincristine could jeopardize the health and well-being of vulnerable children across the country unless the shortage is swiftly resolved.”

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