Cancer drug shortage has parents worried

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by RAD BERKY / WCNC

WCNC

Posted on February 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-area hospitals said they have a supply of a cancer-fighting drug but parents of children with the disease are worried about the possibility of a shortage.

Supplies of the drug - methotrexate - have been running short because a leading maker of the drug shut down some of its factories.

Methotrexate is used to fight acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL. The drug cures ALL in up to 90 percent of children.

Kevin Seibel's 13-year-old daughter, Justine, has ALL.

"This is highly curable, highly treatable and this is a very simple drug and I can't believe we are going to be without it," said Seibel Wednesday night during a rally in uptown to promote awareness of pediatric cancer.

"Her next treatment is in three weeks. We do not know whether she will have methotrexate in three weeks," said Seibel's wife, Christine.

WCNC checked with local hospitals to see how their supplies looked. Presbyterian said the shortage had not impacted any patients, while Carolinas Medical Center said it had a two to three month supply on hand.

Even so, Christine Seibel said she is not taking any chances and had begun work on getting a passport. "In case I have to go and pick up methotrexate overseas," she said.

Seibel said her daughter had suffered through treatment, got well enough to go back to school, and now needs the drug to maintain her condition.

"Justine has a faith and an aura about her that she knows that everything is going to be Okay. And she is going to be," she said.

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