I sent them an email (that’s something patients can do with Memorial Sloan-Kettering doctors, through a special patient website they’ve got set up – unlike most other doctors’ offices, that are still hopelessly mired in the age of the telephone). This morning I checked back on the site, and here’s the reply:
“At this time Thyrogen is not available for the treatment. We do expect an update soon. As soon as we receive Thyrogen we will contact you regarding scheduling.”
Doesn’t tell me much, but at least it tells me that the worldwide shortage of the drug is continuing.
Patents are supposed to protect the intellectual-property rights of inventors, I know, and in that respect they’re a very good thing. Yet, when the invention in question is a drug, and there’s only one company worldwide that’s licensed to manufacture it, I think the company has a special responsibility to be sure the drug remains available. I wonder, is there any provision in the law for taking a drug patent away from a company that fails in such a massive way, so other companies can step in and make sure the supply continues?
Dr. Fish told me the manufacturing process for Thyrogen takes three months. It’s been more than three months, now, since the shortage began. Makes me wonder what’s going on with these people.