Bahary on the Response to Chemotherapy Drug Shortages at AHN


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Nathan Bahary, MD, PhD, discusses how Allegheny Health Network has been able to combat the recent chemotherapy drug shortages seen nationwide.

Nathan Bahary, MD, PhD, division chief of medical oncology and director of clinical cancer research at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Cancer Institute, discusses how AHN has been able to combat the recent chemotherapy drug shortages, including those with cisplatin and carboplatin, seen nationwide.


0:10 | We've been very lucky at the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute. Our pharmacy has been on top of this, and they actually foresaw the shortages, which helps in a couple of ways. Not far beyond everybody, but they began to play for it. One thing you can do is, we are a network of a number of hospitals and every hospital has some storage of it. They've been able to move supplies from 1 hospital to another within the network to support us, which may not be possible if you're a small hospital in the middle of Idaho.

0:47 | We were also able to begin to look ahead of time and say, for cisplatin, when there was somewhat of a shortage, we never ran out. There was never anybody who had a curative intent protocol here that we didn't get them cisplatin. But, it did require us to make some decisions if it's not curative, and that there's an equivalent. Even if people are used to using cisplatin, can we use another drug instead?

1:20 | We worked with the oncologist to do that and to preserve this supply, and we made it through that bottleneck. What happens 3 months from now is unclear. I'm going to have to look at our pharmacy and our pharmacist staff to kind of be on top of this and try to help us. But I think it's important for people to realize how to empower themselves to ask questions about their own chemotherapy. Is there a shortage? How are you addressing it? That kind of thing and realize are, and that in most cases, we can find alternatives for them. We take it seriously. I hope we can begin addressing it as a medical profession.

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