News & AnalysisMedicine

Shortages of Cancer Drugs Put Patients, Trials at Risk

Science  29 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6029, pp. 523
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6029.523

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Summary

This month, a shortage of cytarabine, a crucial drug for many leukemia patients, including children, drew an outcry from oncologists around the country who warned that hospitals were being forced to ration the drug and delay some patients' treatments or give them less effective therapies. By week's end, the crisis, which began last fall and worsened this year, eased as vials of cytarabine became available. But the problem is far from solved; many other generic cancer drugs are in short supply, experts say.