The national scarcity of a common chemotherapy drug has one Merced cancer center scrambling to find another drug to replace it.
Leucovorin, which is mostly used on colorectal cancer patients and boosts the effectiveness of other chemotherapy drugs, is now almost impossible to find.
"We're affiliated with UC Davis, and we can't even get it from them," said June Brown, director of the Mercy Cancer Center, an affiliate of the UC Davis Cancer Network. The cancer center sees about 800 patients a year, and colorectal cancer is the fourth-most common cancer in patients it sees.
The drug is in short supply because one of the manufacturers of it ran into production problems last year. The company, Bedford Laboratories in Ohio, won't say what happened, but says it's working to expand its production capabilities.
The other company that produces the drug, Teva Pharmaceuticals in Irvine, said it could be ready to meet 100 percent of the country's demand for leucovorin within a few months, if necessary.
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