Hospitals running out of critical cancer drug

FDA: 'This is dire'


ORLANDO, Fla. – Hospitals across the nation could soon run out of a drug used to treat childhood leukemia, The New York Times reports.

Methotrexate is used to treat a type of leukemia known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is the most common form of leukemia in children.

Methotrexate is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. One of the suppliers of the drug has suspended operations at its plant because of "manufacturing and quality concerns," according to the article. Other suppliers are trying to increase production.

"This is dire," said Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Food and Drug Administration's drug shortages program, to the New York Times. "Supplies are just not meeting demand."

According to the article, at least 180 drugs needed to treat various forms of cancer have fallen in short supply so far this year.