Bladder Cancer and the 2023 Cisplatin and Carboplatin Shortages

At the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, we believe that patients come first. Your concerns are our concerns, and we recognize the distress caused by drug shortages, particularly in light of the ongoing BCG shortage.

Listen to a podcast about the shortages


What is happening with cisplatin, carboplatin and bladder cancer?

On February 10, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported a shortage in the supply of cisplatin, a drug used to treat bladder cancer since the 1970s via systemic chemotherapy.  Given that this drug has been a staple in treatment, many in the patient and caregiver community are concerned, and we are too. 

BCAN has learned that a principal supplier of the raw materials used in carboplatin and cisplatin in India temporarily suspended manufacturing of essential cancer drugs after FDA found severe quality-control issues, according to a compliance report from December 2022[1]. According to reports, this shortage is due to last several months or more and this impacts bladder cancer patients.

What are others saying about the shortages?

Other organizations are concerned about the situation as well like the American Society of Clinical Oncology as well as the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) who have reported on the cisplatin shortage, along with estimated resupply dates. 

ASCO’s Drug Shortages Advisory Group developed clinical guidance for doctors who treat patients who are eligible for platinum-based therapies. They collaborated with the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) to develop the guidance because platinum-based therapies are often first-line treatments in gynecologic cancers.

What about bladder cancer patients?

BCAN is aware of this troubling shortage, and we are monitoring the situation closely.  We will continue to collaborate with our physician community to better understand the shortage as well as alternatives for patients. We are hearing that some academic medical centers have begun rationing these platinum-based therapies.

We encourage everyone in our community to learn more about their treatment options and offer a tool to help search for and compare bladder cancer treatments.

[1]Sourced from the Cancer Letter, May 26, 2023.