The shortage of cancer drugs in the US is a significant problem. Over 130 medications, including 14 cancer therapies, are in short supply. Drugs like carboplatin and cisplatin, essential for treating different types of cancer, are particularly affected. Plant closures, quality concerns, and increased demand for alternative drugs contribute to this scarcity. As a result, patients experience longer gaps between chemotherapy sessions and may need to travel far for treatment. For example, Toni Dezomits, a current patient, had to choose between continuing without carboplatin or switching to a drug with stronger side effects. Up to 100,000 patients in the US may be affected by this shortage. The impact of not receiving necessary and effective medication is a significant concern for cancer patients.

The shortage of generic cancer drugs has worsened due to affordability concerns. Pharmaceutical companies prioritize profits, which reduces their motivation to manufacture these crucial medications for patients. Additionally, the rising number of cancer cases resulting from a longer life expectancy has further strained the supply chain. While temporary imports from other countries offer some relief, a sustainable solution is needed to address the recurring shortages. Experts propose a collaborative effort between the government and the private sector. This includes establishing strategic reserves of vital medicines and providing incentives to high-quality pharmaceutical companies, encouraging them to prioritize the production of these drugs.