Sanofi is halting the production of the main bladder cancer drug. In response, doctors are pressuring regulatory agencies to take action against this instance of a widespread issue of drug shortages.
Sanofi Pasteur announced last week that it will be shutting down the production of the cancer drug BCG (TheraCys and ImmuCyst) in mid-2017. This drug is the main and most effective treatment to prevent recurrence of bladder cancer.
The company tried to keep a low profile by sending the news via email, and no traces of the announcement can be found on their website. In the email, Sanofi stated that it identified several companies to take over production, but none have decided to commit.
The silenced issue behind this decision has actually been going on for a while: in 2011, the FDA found 58 infractions regarding mold sterility in Sanofi’s Toronto manufacturing lab, where the treatment is produced. To avoid contamination of the drugs, the installation was shut down until Sanofi fixed the issues, finally reopening last year.