The National Cancer Institute Director's Consumer Liaison Group (DCLG) held its first meeting of the new year February 29–March 1 in Bethesda, MD. The meeting included presentations on understanding cancer drug shortages and the role of patient advocate groups in addressing the issue. NCI Director Harold Varmus led the discussions and Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2, represented the brain tumor community at the meeting.
At the meeting, Bruce A. Chabner, M.D. of Massachusetts General Hospital discussed the challenges facing the cancer community, "The shortages primarily affect injectable generic drugs and have forced physicians to prioritize patients and improvise standard drug regimens," said Chabner. "The origins of the shortages are multifactorial, but simply stated, the problem for cancer treatment stems from a confluence of factors: consolidation of generic-drug production in the hands of few manufacturers, who in turn have experienced both increased demand for drugs and production problems."
The 15 members of the DCLG provide informed, non-scientific perspectives to the NCI director on promoting research outcomes that are in the best interest of cancer patients. Specifically, DCLG members focus on identifying new approaches, promoting innovation, recognizing unforeseen risks or barriers, and identifying unintended consequences that could result from NCI decisions or actions. Max Wallace has been a member of the DCLG since 2010.