LI parents concerned over critical shortage of children's cancer drug

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There's a critical shortage of a cancer drug used to treat children and that has some Long Island parents worried.

Ryan Starace, a 6-year-old from Hauppauge, is now considered in remission from leukemia. He still gets chemotherapy treatments for maintenance, and VinCristine is one of the drugs he takes.

VinCristine, a chemotherapy drug, is considered the gold standard by doctors for treating cancer in children. However, only two drug companies manufacture the drug.

The FDA posted in July that one of the drug makers, Teva Pharmaceuticals, made a business decision to discontinue VinCristine.

"To hear that it's a business decision is disgusting to me," says Ryan's mom Nicole Starace.

A spokeswoman for Teva told News 12 in a statement, "Availability of Teva product has not contributed to the shortage that is being experienced today."

The spokeswoman went on to say that an analysis done in 2017 showed that Teva had only 15 percent of the market for the drug.

The other drug manufacturer of VinCristine says it will expedite additional shipments.

Stony Brook Hospital, where Starace is treated, says it's in good shape with its supply for now.

"Unfortunately if we do come to a shortage then we just have to decide and prioritize," says Dr. Laura Hogan, of Stony Brook Children's Hospital. "So those patients who we feel it is most likely to affect their outcome by not getting Vincristine will be prioritized."

Starace says that it is scary since her child needs the drug for survival.

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