I am sorry to hear that BCG shortage is affecting your close friend’s family. I empathize the anxiety it is causing to you and your friend's family. Unfortunately, I hear and there about the shortage affecting the treatment. I don't know why patients have to shop around when the patients have no information about the supply chain of BCG and which hospital has surplus BCG to share. I get upset about it. But, that is what patients are doing so I have read.
Anyway, there are two companies in India who manufacture BCG for bladder cancer,their BCGs are exported mostly to low income countries. But, the FDA does not allow the use of it in the US. Technically, BCG manufactured in the US and in other BCG manufactured in other countries are different. They all originate from the same BCG which was developed in early 1900 in Paris, France. As the master seeds are brought into different countries, their manufacturing environments are different and mutations could have happened because BCG is live bacteria. To deal with the shortage in the US, urologists decided to compare BCG by MERCK and BCG by Tokyo BCG lab and they started a clinical trial almost 5 years ago for 1000 patients. But they stopped recruiting now and the first report is due on March 2023. I do not know why they do not expertise the approval as they must have sufficient data to approve it. This also frustrates me when we still see the impact of the shortage.
I do not know the pathology report of your friend’s son from the tissue sample the urologist took out when he did remove the tumor from the bladder of your friend’s son, so I cannot take how critical BCG as the treatment at this point.
It is noted that the urologist took out the tumor from your friend’s son, So, he is cancer free now.
But, clinically, the stats show his type of cancer tend to reappear some place in the lining of the bladder and this is BCG for to prevent it.
If indeed, BCG is not going to be available for lengthy period, some urologist may use different treatment till BC becomes available. I know in this forum, a patient in Chicago was prescribed Gemcitabine plus Docetaxel chemo agents instilled into his bladder when BCG became unavailable during BCG maintenance treatment and went back to BCG again. There were no reappearing of cancer during this period.
Unfortunately there have been intermittent shortages of BCG in the US for several years. Now it seems to come and go and affects different parts of the country at different times. Currently, my urologist is not having trouble getting just enough for his patients. I do hope your friend is able to find someone who has "extra" for her son.
My urologist says that his most recent problem was a shortage of lidocaine. He had to cancel several weeks' of procedures until his hospital was able to get more. As he said, and I quote, "this is a lousy way to practice medicine!"
The preparation(s) that they use in India are NOT the same as the US. BCG is a biological product and therefore its potency can vary widely within preparations as well as with different methods of manufacture.
It is important for your friend's son to remember that a short delay in consecutive treatments should not affect the overall efficacy of BCG treatments. We will hope that his urologist is able to get some soon.
Diagnosis 2-08 Small papillary TCC; CIS
BCG; BCG maintenance
Vice-President, American Bladder Cancer Society
The following user(s) said Thank You: Alan, MoiMoi27
Hello. My friend I've known since fourth grade has a son who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in late February. He was being treated with BCG, but she says his last treatment was cancelled, because they are having a shortage of BCG. They asked her to call around, and she is literally calling hospitals around the country. I was wondering if anybody has any advice about how she could get some of this medication?
I notice that they sell BCG vaccine in India. Is this a different composition than the one used in bladder cancer?
I'm sorry to intrude on all of you, I am trying to help my friend! THANK YOU very much!!!!!