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New Survey: 1 in 10 Cancer Patients Has Been Impacted by Nation’s Drug Shortages with Significant Delays to Cancer Care

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Survey Highlights Impacts of Drug Shortages and Importance of Biomarker Testing

October 19, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 19, 2023 – The nation’s drug shortage crisis continues to affect cancer patients and survivors with 1 in every 10 (10%) reporting impacts to care, a majority of whom have had difficulties finding substitute medications (68%) and cited treatment delays (59%).  

The data is part of a new survey by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).   

“Today’s survey makes clear that our nation’s drug shortage continues to be a life-threatening issue for too many patients who depend on access to the  medicine  they need to survive,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “Congress needs to act urgently to address today’s drug shortages by advancing a comprehensive proposal that will both resolve the current issue as well as prevent future crises.” 

In addition to the impact of the current drug shortages, respondents were asked if biomarker testing, an increasingly important tool in cancer care, had changed the course of their treatment. An overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) who have had biomarker testing agreed that the results gave their provider valuable information that led to better treatment, with the same number (77%) of those who had not had biomarker testing noting they would like to have it if they were a good candidate.  

Equitable access to biomarker testing is key to ensuring more individuals can receive the most effective treatment for their specific cancer. To date, 13 states have enacted legislation to expand access to such testing, including, most recently, California, where Governor Newsom signed legislation into law earlier this month.  

The data was collected between September 12 and September 25, 2023. A total of 1,222 cohort participants responded to the questionnaire. Differences reported between groups are tested for statistical significance at a 95% confidence interval. 

Read the full polling memo here. 

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