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My main concern is the possible disruption of the Ibrutinib supply. Any information?
Here is the answer from Tom Henry, our expert pharmacist:
I checked the FDA drug shortage website and at present, ibrutinib is not in shortage situation. This of course could change but is extremely unlikely to do so in the near future based for the reasons I outline below.
Some of the ingredients for ibrutinib come from Guangzhu Nansha, China so there is always some risk of disruption in shipments. However, the city of Nansha is a port city near Hong Kong so internal transportation within China is less of a factor as it might be if the plant was further inland.
More importantly there already is a more than a sufficient stockpile of the medication in the USA for CLL patients for the foreseeable future.
Recently there has been a new concern that ibrutinib or acalabrutinib might become unavailable for CLL patients if they are used to treat COVID-19.
First while there are theoretical reasons and a few promising cases to believe it might help, there are no data at this time to recommend either drug outside of a clinical trial. Next the amount of medication used for the COVID-19 trials would be minimal. If either or both were to be eventually approved to treat severe COVID-19, that approval would be limited to a specific population for a matter of several days, not years as it is used in blood cancers. This usage should not have a material impact on supply.
This is directly from Johnson and Johnson re ibrutinib availability in CLL.
“Our first priority is to the patients living with B cell malignancies and chronic graft-versus host disease (cGVHD) where ibrutinib is approved by health authorities, and in ongoing clinical trials and registries, which will continue to provide important data about the benefits and risks of this medicine.”
If you are still worried, you can take personal action to try to increase your drug on hand. Insurance companies will pay for your prescription when your stock has reached the 75% point so a 30-day prescription can be filled every 25 days and 3-month prescription every 75 days so it is possible to get a little ahead.
We will keep our followers alert if we learn of any disruption of supplies of any medications.
Remember that we cannot give medical advice and any suggestions should be reviewed with your treating doctors.