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Klobuchar wants immediate action to address shortage of chemotherapy drugs

Washington, D.C. - Expressing concern that cancer patients may lose access to life-saving medications, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for immediate action to ensure adequate supplies of anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs.

"Lives are literally at stake with these medications," Klobuchar said. "For anyone struggling with cancer, the last thing they want to hear is that they might lose access to essential medications. These drugs are designated by the FDA as medically necessary. In some cases, substitute drugs aren't available or they're less effective."

In a letter Friday to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Klobuchar wrote:

"I urge the FDA to find an immediate solution to the shortage of chemotherapy drugs, and to address the long-term challenges facing our nation's drug supply. It is essential that the FDA act now to ensure that patients have access to the medications that are essential to their health and well-being."

The nationwide shortage of certain chemotherapy drugs has been noted by Minnesota hospitals and clinics, which have expressed alarm in recent weeks about the continuing shortage.

Experts say there are various reasons for the drug shortages, including manufacturing problems, production delays and financial trends in the pharmaceutical industry.