JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A national shortage of cancer treatment and chemotherapy medication has some pharmacists around the country struggling to fill orders, but locally some in the medical field say patients here in Jacksonville don’t have to be alarmed just yet.
For some local pharmacies here in Jacksonville like Osteen’s they still have full shelves. That supply shortage not reaching them quite yet, but they are talking to patients.
“You need the treatment right away, any delay in care is a serious issue when we’re talking cancer," John Eckert, a pharmacist at O'steens Pharmacy, said.
John Eckert is measuring out methotrexate, one of four cancer drugs in shortage according to the Food and Drug Administration.
While he has supply for now, it a serious concern, as stocking these prescriptions is no easy task and switching to a different drug may come with side effects, be less effective and could be more costly.
“These are very targeted therapies for specific types of cancers and they may only be on or two options that are targeting that cancer," Eckert said.
But patients here in Jacksonville don’t have to be alarmed just yet. Pharmacists believe the national shortage may take time to impact local stores that already have supplies in stock.
Leaders at Baptist health, which houses a cancer center said in a statement their patients have not been impacted as they “use various supply avenues, which have allowed us to obtain and maintain the stock we need”
But for those who are worried about future impacts;
“Hang in there, talk to your doctors. There are lots of very talented cancer specialist here in Jacksonville and they are going to do everything they can to make sure your getting the treatment that is going to work for you," Eckert said.
As a form of action, the FDA is requesting manufacturers give at least a 6-month notice before a shortage to find ways to avoid it.”