March 31, 2012

I always get the same pharmacy tech when I refill my prescriptions. She's nice, we talk, she treats me like a friend not a patient. She updates me on her sister's RA and I update her on my arthritis woes. A couple of months ago I was whining to her about the side effects of the Methotrexate and she suggested I ask the doctor for the injectable form. Yesterday I picked up my Enbrel and reported back to her that due to the Methotrexate shortage they were reserving the liquid form for cancer patients. She looked relieved. Come to find out her 2-year-old son has Leukemia and uses the liquid form of Methotrexate. It has been a struggle getting that drug for him. Wow, I feel like I never want to complain about Methotrexate side effects ever again. If I have to endure the nausea and vertigo so that child cancer patients can have the liquid form I'm happy to do that. 

From what I've been able to find out in my research, there are 6 companies that produce Methotrexate in the United States. One company, Ben Venue Laboratories (the manufacturing arm of Bedford), voluntarily suspended manufacturing of all products in November 2011 to address manufacturing-related issues at its facility (whatever that means). The instant demand on the other 5 companies caused a shortage as they have been unable to produce enough Methotrexate. Thus, we have a nation-wide shortage of injectable Methotrexate with cancer and arthritis patients being the ones forced to suffer through the shortage.

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