Thyroid Drug Shortage Presents Tough Choices for Cancer Patients

June 2, 2011

The New York Times

The New York Times reports that forty percent of patients who need a drug used in the treatment and monitoring of thyroid cancer, called Thyrogen, will not be able to get it until later this summer, according to the medication’s manufacturer. Since thyroid cancer is typically slow-moving, most physicians are recommending that low-risk patients wait out the shortage. “It would be difficult to say that delaying therapy two or three months will change the outcome of their disease,” said Susan Mandel, MD, MPH, a professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Obesity and Metabolism, who notes that some doctors do not use Thyrogen to treat thyroid cancer at all. “But physicians want to get patients who have just had surgery on with their lives, and instead we are telling them they can’t be treated now.” Read More

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