15 Cancer Drugs Are in Short Supply, FDA reports: The Kiplinger Letter

The U.S. is working to address cancer drug shortages caused by manufacturing and supply chain woes.

To help you understand what the U.S. is doing to address problems and challenges in the healthcare sector, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

Uncle Sam has made some progress in reducing cancer drug shortages by working with manufacturers to restart U.S. production facilities that were previously shut down, as well as securing vital overseas supplies.

One drug, cisplatin, often used to treat ovarian, bladder and testicular cancer has already returned to near 100% pre-shortage levels of supply. However, The U.S. still has an overall shortage of 15 cancer drugs, per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because of manufacturing and supply chain problems. 

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

In 2022, manufacturing site closures reduced the U.S. supply of cisplatin, (used to treat bladder cancer, testicular cancer, or ovarian cancer), carboplatin (used for ovarian cancer) and methotrexate (used for leukemia, breast and lung cancer, and more) by nearly half, leading to treatment delays for cancer patients. 

One survey by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in June found that 70% of its members were experiencing a cisplatin shortage, while virtually all their members found carboplatin difficult to come by. Around 20% of cancer patients rely on platinum-based chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin, for treatment, according to federal health statistics.

Several U.S. manufacturers have exited this market in recent years, increasing American reliance on foreign imports from China and India, in particular. It remains unclear how Uncle Sam will address this long-term problem, which may ultimately require using government demand to bolster manufacturing.

One bill now under consideration by Congress, the Drug Shortage Prevention Act, would require manufacturers to report anticipated shortages ahead of time.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

Related Content

Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.