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Medication Shortage Affecting Children With Cancer In Colorado

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Kasey and Katie Fox (credit: CBS)

Kasey and Katie Fox (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Doctors across the country are sounding off about a shortage of medications for children with cancer. Some hospitals say they might start running out of the drugs and the medication shortage is affecting sick children in Colorado.

Kasey Fox has been going to The Children’s Hospital to receive chemotherapy for a rare cancer-like disease. She’s had four relapses. Her mother, Katie Fox, is anxious, and this time she’s also angry.

“Not having access to a critical medication is atrocious,” Katie Fox said.

Kasey counts on getting the anti-nausea drug Zofran through her I.V.

“This time we show up and we’re told that we had to take a pill and she has a lot of anxiety issues from taking things orally,” Katie Fox said.

But Kasey has no choice. The Children’s Hospital is trying to ration a limited supply and they have more than 100 other medication shortages, including just one vial of the chemo drug — and just a month’s supply of a critical leukemia drug called methotrexate.

“We’re monitoring this on a daily basis,” said Jerrod Milton, The Children’s Hospital Chief Pharmacist.

That’s a national challenge. Methotrexate is running out across the country. The drug can potentially cure Elena Shoenveld, but her hospital in Philadelphia has just a 2-month supply.

“If we lose methotrexate we open up a very unknown future and children will die,” Dr. John Maris with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said.

“I’m a little worried at this point,” Milton said.

Milton is encouraging parents not to panic.

“We will rally around this and not compromise patient care,” he said.

Doctors and lawmakers are asking drug companies to step up production of methotrexate and other critical medications.

“I’m in a situation where we’re fighting for my kid’s future,” Katie Fox said.

There is legislation introduced in Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration more power to deal with the drug shortage crisis, but no action has been taken.

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