banner
Holiday

Fayetteville child with cancer faces drug shortage

Posted February 14, 2012

— Collin Henry, 5, has been battling cancer since he was 2 years old. Now, the medication he takes to treat his leukemia is in short supply.

The Fayetteville boy is among more than 500,000 patients affected by the shortage of 28 cancer drugs. The issue is due, in part, to a smaller profit margin, because many of the medications have become generic. With fewer suppliers, the largest manufacturer of methotrexate, the drug Collin takes, shut down its plant last fall.

"I almost feel like throwing up. I actually felt sick to my stomach. It's a scary feeling knowing that one of the drugs that is necessary to treat your kid might not be available in the near future," Collin's mother, Kathleen Henry, said Tuesday. "It's actually really disturbing to me that they would put money after lives – that it comes down to that."

Henry said that without methotrexate, her son's treatment could be set back decades. 

After going into remission, Collin's cancer returned last August. He goes to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatments weekly.

"Twenty or 30 years ago, kids didn't survive leukemia. They were sent home to die," Henry said.

A Lineberger center spokeswoman said the system is doing everything it can to ensure an adequate supply of the medication. 

Cancer med shortage hurts Fayetteville child Fayetteville child's cancer meds in short supply

Sometimes treatment options involve less potent alternatives, or sharing with other hospitals in the region.

"It's not dire straits for us, but it is for other kids that didn't get it yesterday or aren't getting it today," Henry said.

The Henry family has battled cancer before. In October 2010, cancer also struck Collin's older brother, Patrick, now 7. It was hepatoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that originates in the liver. He has been cancer-free for a year.

19 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • bombayrunner Feb 22, 10:57 a.m.

    The manufacturers are regulated too tightly, production halted by FDA (aka our government regulators). Medications are being manufactured out of our country because of the red tape OUR country has put on our companies. There are about 180+ meds on short supply for various reasons-mostly for increase demand and manufacturing delay from FDA inspections. The government (republicans and democrats-BOTH) are the blame for this. GREEDY politicians...period...nothing more. Our politicians changed from public servants to SELF SERVANTS!! Corruption knows no politcal boundaries. They only care if it affects one of them. My prayers to this child and all those that suffer needlessly from a created(fictional) drug shortages.

  • bombayrunner Feb 22, 10:39 a.m.

    what ever happened to the Orphan Drug Act????

  • Killian Feb 20, 2:58 p.m.

    My friend's cousin is dealing with this as well. See her latest blog post here: http://gideonschripsema.blogspot.com/ to see how you can protest this travesty. These kids' lives should not be bought and sold so some pharmaceutical exec can take his kids to St Barts for the weekend.

  • North Carolina Cutie Feb 17, 4:27 p.m.

    This is heart breaking.

  • TestForFun Feb 17, 2:48 p.m.

    cwbauer55's comment is filled with kindness. I hope the medication shortage will be remedied so that all who need it have access, but thanks for the kind words on prioritizing a child's well-being.

  • snshine62d Feb 17, 12:48 p.m.

    Who knows what the real reasons are why this child is looking at not having all he needs to have achance at a full recovery.... What I do know! This is the face of the new America if certain Republicans get there way. If you do not have the money, so what. Ask your neighbors for the money. Smaller goverment, less inspectors.... The new American way. If you can not make a profit that you like on what you are making stop and make something else.... Wakeup folks it is all connected!

    Glad to see someone out there recognizes what the republicans are up to. I keep saying that they don't care about us the working class Americans , all they want are two classes of people. The rich and the poor. I truly do hope people wake up before that happens.

    I feel so bad that these people can't get the medicine that they need.

  • rebecca7 Feb 17, 10:29 a.m.

    cwbauer55 - how many others do you think would sacrifice the way are willing to in order for these children to get the meds? Is there a way we can start a support group or something to get the cause out for doing this? I hate to know you would be in so much pain - but I think a lot of people - like you, would rather see it going to that 5 year old even at their own sacrifice.

  • concerncitizen Feb 16, 11:27 a.m.

    Who knows what the real reasons are why this child is looking at not having all he needs to have achance at a full recovery.... What I do know! This is the face of the new America if certain Republicans get there way. If you do not have the money, so what. Ask your neighbors for the money. Smaller goverment, less inspectors.... The new American way. If you can not make a profit that you like on what you are making stop and make something else.... Wakeup folks it is all connected!

  • slw36999 Feb 15, 5:52 p.m.

    The company that stopped manufacture of methotrexate, Ben Venue Labs, in Ohio, stopped manufacture due to FDA concerns found at an inspection at their facility. I don't know the details of the issues FDA found, but this may have been a case where FDA needed to work with the manufacturer to try and maintain production (with increased oversight?). It takes at least a couple years to get an approval for a generic so it isn't easy to get a new manufacturer to market quickly.

  • cwbauer55 Feb 15, 2:40 p.m.

    I ALSO TAKE METHOTREXATE FOR MY RA I CAN LIVE WITH PAIN SO SAVE THE MEDS FOR THE KIDS WHO NEED IT FOR THE CANCER TREATMENTS ILL FIND SOMTHING ELSE FOR THE PAIN. KIDS NEED TO TOO HAVE A LONG LIFE.

More...