STAT

With one manufacturer and little money to be made, supplies of a critical cancer drug are dwindling

There’s a critical national shortage of a #cancer drug that has been used for decades and that is a remarkably effective medicine.

Bob Field was set to kick off his second course of BCG — a potent immunotherapy that treats his fast-growing bladder cancer. Instead, the New York City banking executive got a call from his urologist’s office, canceling that week’s appointment: They were running low on vials of BCG and rationing their dwindling supplies. Field was no longer eligible.

It wasn’t just one doctor’s office. There’s a critical national shortage of BCG, a biologic drug that has been used for decades and that is a remarkably effective medicine. Many smaller clinics have already run out of the lifesaving drug, and larger hospitals — including New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where Field is being treated — have changed their policies on distributing BCG to prioritize newly diagnosed patients with active cancers.

“In a word, I’m horrified. Depressed, annoyed, angry,” said Field, 72, who is now calling hospitals and clinics across New York to see if he can gain access to the drug. “This is a proven, time-tested means of helping people

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