The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability in late February 2024 called pharmaceutical companies to provide more information and a briefing to explain the ongoing shortages of several cancer drugs, including carboplatin, cisplatin, and methotrexate; amoxicillin; and stimulant medications.

The committee’s ranking member, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), led the members in issuing letters to TevaPfizer, and Sandoz, asking for details on the root causes of their medication shortages and for practical solutions to return to full production.

“The current oncology drug shortage affects the clinical decision-making process, patient outcomes, and quality of life, and without crucial oncology drugs, cancer patients face severe gaps in their treatments and an increased risk of severe, life-threatening complications,” the committee wrote in their letter to Pfizer.

They specifically asked Pfizer to supply information about:

  • The steps it is taking to increase the supply of its generic oncology drugs
  • The steps it is taking to prevent price gouging and other barriers to patient access
  • Whether it anticipates additional generic oncology drug shortages
  • Its plan for additional manufacturing changes to prevent future oncology drug shortages
  • How the company is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent future oncology drug shortages

A two-time cancer survivor, Raskin knows the critical need for cancer medications firsthand. He received chemotherapy for a colorectal cancer diagnosis in 2010 and chemo-immunotherapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in 2022

“These medications are particularly critical for cancer patients because they offer patients the chance of full recovery, and without access to these drugs, the consequences are life-threatening for many,” the lawmakers wrote.

Improving patient access to safe and affordable cancer drugs is one of ONS’s health policy priorities on the 2024 Health Policy Agenda for the 118th Congress, second session. Learn more in the ONS Center for Advocacy and Health Policy.