Resolving Shortages of Cancer Drugs

A New York Times article (August 19, 2011) describes the problem of shortages of several cancer drugs that are now made by generic manufacturers.   These drugs are used for breat cancer, colorectal cancer and bacterial infections.  The article claims that the erratic supply is linked to global manufacturing sources that have not been subject to FDA inspection.  Significant price increases (factors of 10 or 20) and continued shortages could impact timeliness and thus effectiveness of treatment. Should the Federal government build stockpiles of dry ingredients that can then be mixed to form the required drugs ? Should inspection costs of foreign manufacturing facilities be paid by branded manufacturers to ensure supply ? Should it be the manufacturer’s responsibility to warn hospitals of impending shortages ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Global Contexts, Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Resolving Shortages of Cancer Drugs

  1. Anna Peckhart says:

    I think this is a difficult situation. On one hand, since these drugs save lives and waiting for them could mean life or death for patients the government and pharmaceutical companies should be willing to do anything possible to make sure there is supply. However, the companies are in business and going through every effort to make sure the drugs are available will be extremely costly. The patients no doubt have large medical bills as it is so will they be able to afford the drugs if the costs are even higher. Are patients and their families willing to pay anything to live? Most people are compassionate would most likely say the companies and government should do anything possible to make the drugs available. A company I heard about gets the product into production and establishes the Supply Chain and then focuses on cost reduction projects while maintaining quality. I think the pharmaceutical companies should take this approach and make sure the supply chain is established then work on cost reduction ideas. I believe the companies should be responsible for informing the hospitals when there is going to be a shortage that way they can prepare for it by identifying other treatment ideas. Or maybe those who recieve the drugs should be on a list similar to the donor list, those who need the drugs the most should get them first.

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