Senator seeks notification on drugs’ unavailability

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Senator seeks notification on drugs’ unavailability

Toledo Blade — Joanne Schwartzberg once was a clinical nurse at what was then the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, but now she’s a patient, receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer.

Twice during her course of treatment, Mrs. Schwartzberg’s doctors have had to change her medication because of a supply shortage — in one case, the result of an abrupt halt in the medicine’s manufacture.

The retired nurse accompanied U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) to a news conference Saturday afternoon at what is now the University of Toledo Medical Center, where the senator outlined a bill he is co-sponsoring that would require drug manufacturers to notify the federal government whenever a shortage or discontinuance is anticipated.

“It is difficult to understand how companies can simply cease producing a life-saving drug, or one that can help cancer patients get better,” said Mrs. Schwartzberg, who still lives in Toledo.

“As a patient, it’s sort of scary when you’re on the preferred drug and they take it away,” she later added.

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