Medication for cancer patients in short supply

Methotrexate medication is used to treat certain types of cancer. It is in short supply.
Methotrexate medication is used to treat certain types of cancer. It is in short supply.

GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Preservative-free Methotrexate medication is in short supply.

For most people, the shortage of this medicine doesn't mean anything.

But for parents with children with certain types of cancer, this shortage could cause their child's death.

WAFF 48 caught up with a Guntersville mother who is asking for help from congress to keep her son alive.

Amy Cagle's son, Auston, has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, T cell.

This type of cancer has an 80 percent cure rate if the patient takes the correct medications.

Auston takes two forms of Methotrexate. One form is in full supply, but the preservative-free form of Methotrexate is scarce.

Every 3 months Auston gets the preservative-free form inserted in his spine with a spinal tap. This fights the Leukemia located in his spine and brain. If a methotrexate with a preservative is used in a spinal tap, it can cause paralysis.

The reason the preservative-free form of methotrexate is in short supply is because there is a short demand.

"There's not enough demand and there's not enough money being made on it so basically there's not enough children with cancer and not enough money being put toward this drug. It's a very cheap drug," said Amy Cagle.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. will import a month's supply of preservative-free methotrexate from Australia.

The Generic Drug Industry is proposing a $299 million dollar fee for the FDA. The fee would speed up review processes for new, generic drugs.

Amy Cagle says she needs your help: "I need you to call your senators or representatives and beg and ask them to please ask for increased production and to pass laws."

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.