Information on the Shortage of Chemotherapy Medications

Due to manufacturing delays at several pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers across the U.S. including Henry Ford Health are facing a critical shortage of two chemotherapy medications used to treat cancer – Carboplatin and Cisplatin. Our top priority is the safety, seamless care, and wellbeing of our patients and members.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s being done about it?

Health systems like ours are working diligently to develop alternative treatment plans for our patients and members. The FDA, as well as multiple state and national organizations, are also working to curb these shortages.

When will this be resolved?

Unfortunately, the manufacturers have not provided details about when these medications will be readily available again. We believe it could take several weeks to several months for these drugs to reach health systems again.

What types of cancer does this shortage impact?

These medications are used mostly to treat Breast, Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, Gynecologic, Head and Neck and Thoracic cancers but are occasionally used in other cancer types as well.

How are you determining which patients receive the limited supply available?

In emergency situations like this, when health systems are treating multiple patients with short supplies of critical medications or other treatments, patients at the highest risk and/or those who are believed to benefit most from these medications must be prioritized. Over time, as supplies return, we are committed to offering these medications to patients again as they become more readily available.

Why are impacted patients being offered an alternative?

Because we have critically low supply of the drug, we may not be able to offer this medication to all patients. At the same time, we do not want patient care to be interrupted. There are alternative options for these types of cancer, and we want to partner with our patients to determine the best option and help them make an informed decision about their care.

What types of alternatives are being offered?

For those patients who may be unable to receive our limited supply of the medication, we continue to work individually with them and their family to ensure we’re partnering with them on the best alternative – considering their unique needs. Alternatives may include transferring to a different chemotherapy regimen or another treatment altogether; reducing the number of chemotherapy sessions or extending the interval between treatments; and possibly delaying chemotherapy if it can be done safely. In each case, our goal is to prioritize their cancer care and ensure the safety and wellbeing of each patient we serve.

Will care be compromised?

Each patient’s care will be impacted differently based on drug supply, the type of cancer they have, the specific makeup of their tumor, their overall prognosis, and all available alternative treatment options. We’re committed to doing everything we can to help patients manage their care, prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of every patient impacted by these delays.

Will insurance cover the alternative treatments?

We are actively working with insurance companies with the goal of easing the process and making these alternative treatments available to patients and members.

Should I seek treatment somewhere else?

It’s important to remember that this national shortage is affecting essentially all health systems, in Michigan and beyond, that treat patients with these medications. We encourage patients to continue working with their care team to ensure their care remains seamless. At the same time, we encourage and empower all our patients to make the decision that’s best for them and we’ll honor those decisions, working collaboratively to ensure they get the best and safest care possible.

For more information

Existing patients can call the Henry Ford Health Oncology Care Team at 1-888-734-5322.

Additional resources


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