Morning RX: June 8, 2023


A survey shows cancer centers are struggling, Google expands its generative AI into health care, and the WHO announces enhanced collaboration with the Global Fund.

Large US Cancer Centers Are Struggling Amid the Current Drug Shortage

A new survey released Wednesday by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found that more than 90% of some of the nation’s largest cancer centers are struggling amid the ongoing drug shortage. Among the 27 centers that participated, 93% reported a shortage of carboplatin, and 70% reported a shortage of cisplatin. The survey, which was conducted from May 23 to May 31, found that only 64% of cancer centers are able to keep patients being treated with carboplatin on regimen. Additionally, 16% of respondents reported treatment delays as a result of needing to re-obtain authorization for modified treatment plans.

“This is an unacceptable situation,” said Robert W. Carlson, CEO at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. “We are hearing from oncologists and pharmacists across the country who have to scramble to find appropriate alternatives for treating their patients with cancer right now.”

Earlier this week, the FDA announced it will begin allowing certain cancer drugs to be imported from China to help with the shortage. Chinese drug manufacturer Qilu Pharmaceuticals began importing cisplatin this week, which is being distributed by Apotex Corporation, a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company.

Read our full story on the NCCN survey here.

Google Partners With Mayo Clinic to Expand Generative AI in Health Care

Google Cloud has begun a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic in an effort to expand its use of generative artificial intelligence in the health care industry, the tech company announced on Wednesday. Google’s Gen App Builder will be used to “improve the efficiency of clinical workflows, make it easier for clinicians and researchers to find the information they need, and ultimately to help improve patient outcomes.” The purpose of the partnership is to help Google advance its generative AI tools while helping doctors and other employees retrieve vital patient information more efficiently.

"Our prioritization of patient safety, privacy, and ethical considerations, means that generative AI can have a significant and positive impact on how we work and deliver healthcare," said Cris Ross, Mayo Clinic's chief information officer. "Google Cloud's tools have the potential to unlock sources of information that typically aren't searchable in a conventional manner, or are difficult to access or interpret, from a patient's complex medical history to their imaging, genomics, and labs.”

WHO Enhances Collaboration With Global Fund

The WHO and the Global Fund have together signed a new and revised Strategic Framework for Collaboration in an effort to “build stronger and more resilient health systems,” the WHO said Thursday. The framework, which builds on a previous agreement signed in 2018, will last for 5 years and aims to help countries address pandemic preparedness and challenges posed by climate change. Over the course of their collaboration, the two organizations have created strategic initiatives on malaria and accelerated the implementation of innovative approaches to treatments for multidrug-resistant TB, among other successful initiatives.

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