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TMH's cancer patients struggle to find chemo treatment amid nationwide drug shortages

A blue sign is surrounded by lush greenery.
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
Tallahassee Memorial Hospital sign at the corner of Centerville Rd.

Thousands of cancer patients across the country are being forced to wait weeks for proper treatment due to a nationwide drug shortage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broke the news back in February.

Chemotherapeutic drugs like Carboplatin and Cisplatin are commonly used by medical professionals to treat various ailments from ovarian, bladder, head, and neck tumors.

Dr. Tod Morris oversees the treatment of roughly 80 patients at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Cancer Center.

He says the shortage could continue for several months but he will do whatever he can to help.

“We have developed a number of mitigation strategies to minimize that impact and risk to each of these very vulnerable patients," said Morris. "We’re going to do everything we can to provide the highest quality outcomes in this difficult situation.”

Morris and his team requested 800 milligrams of cisplatin last week from regional drug vendors. However, that will only be enough for a week’s time because of high demand.

Currently, there are 136 drugs in short supply according to The FDA.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.