Record medicine shortages expose world’s broken market


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Part way through her 23-year-old son’s chemotherapy, Kristin Caparra was told that one of the drugs key to his treatment – methotrexate – was running out. Used at high doses in cancer care, the drug is part of common chemotherapy to treat paediatric cancers. There is often no good alternative to the treatment. The shortage led Caparra’s son to miss a dose of methotrexate for treatment of a rare, malignant bone cancer at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Caparra immediately contacted elected officials and cancer organisations, one of which helped arrange an alternative source. For other patients, shortages can mean switching...