FDA warns health care providers against short cuts on drug shortages

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued another warning to health care providers not to take short cuts to obtain injectable cancer drugs that are in short supply.

Most of drug shortages are with cancer medicine helping relatively small populations and delivered via injection in hospitals, but some ADHD drugs are reportedly also in short supply.

But patients (or their families) don't care about the size of their population. They just want safe and effective drugs.

There is plenty of debate about cause and culprits for the shortages, but the FDA notice was aimed at providers because doctors, nurses and hospitals or health care facilities are the people and places who usually inject the drugs.

The FDA says providers must be diligent and avoid buying medicine from sources that are not approved by the FDA.

"Current shortages of injectable cancer medications may present an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to introduce non-FDA approved products into the drug supply, which could result in serious harm to patients," the FDA statement said. "Health care providers are reminded to obtain and use only FDA-approved injectable cancer medications purchased directly from the manufacturer or from wholesale distributors licensed in the United States. In certain circumstances, the FDA may authorize limited importation of medications that are in short supply. Such medications are imported from approved international sources and distributed in the U.S. through a controlled network, and would not be sold in direct-to-clinic solicitations. If the FDA has arranged for limited importation of the foreign version of a medication, information on obtaining that medication will be available on the FDA drug shortages website, often in the form of a “Dear Healthcare Professional” letter."

A link to the notice is here.