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Canadian hospitals short of cancer drugs

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TORONTO, May 13 (UPI) -- Canadian hospitals are struggling with shortages of cancer chemotherapy drugs, doctors say.

"We have had to look at trying to reschedule some patients' treatments, and some people have been delayed by short periods of time," said Dr. Peter Ellis, an oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Center in Hamilton, Ontario, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported Thursday. "Most were OK because they knew it was short-term."

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Ellis said his hospital ran out of carboplatin, which is used for ovarian, lung and other cancers, for several days before borrowing it from another hospital.

At St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, five chemotherapy drugs are on back order as their supplier rations them across the region.

"The worst thing from a pharmacy standpoint is not knowing it's not coming," said Richard Jones of Medbuy, a company that works with hospitals to reduce supply costs.

The shortage is being blamed on scarcity of raw ingredients and reduced production or discontinuation of drugs.

Generic manufacturers say they are ramping up production.

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