SOURCE: LIVESTRONG

LIVESTRONG

October 31, 2011 16:00 ET

LIVESTRONG® Launches National Drug Shortage Crisis Story-Gathering Campaign

Urges Patients, Loved Ones and Health Care Professionals to Share How Drug Shortage Crisis Affects Them

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - Oct 31, 2011) - LIVESTRONG® today began a national effort to collect stories of Americans being affected by the shortage of drugs critical to the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases. The Tell Your Story, Call for Change campaign will center on the survey available at LIVESTRONG.org and will be used to urge the federal government and pharmaceutical industry to act swiftly to correct the scarcity of life-saving drugs.

"When I was diagnosed with cancer 15 years ago, I was fortunate to have the drugs I needed to survive and return to full health," said Lance Armstrong, champion cyclist, cancer survivor and LIVESTRONG founder and chairman. "For many Americans today, that is not the case. People are being forced to delay treatment or take less effective medications because the drugs they need are no longer readily available. We must join our voices to call for swift action to end the national drug shortage crisis."

LIVESTRONG's national story-gathering campaign follows today's Executive Order by President Obama calling on the Food and Drug Administration to 1. Report potential drug shortages 2. Hasten or facilitate the review process required to initiate or change manufacture of those drugs and 3. Report data about possible drug price gouging or collusion to the Department of Justice. Legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and endorsed by LIVESTRONG that addresses some aspects of the national drug shortage crisis has been pending in Congress since February.

"We welcome today's federal action to address the national drug shortage crisis," said Doug Ulman, three-time cancer survivor and President and CEO of LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. "Lives are being lost in America because of a shortage of basic cancer drugs. LIVESTRONG calls on government leaders, drug manufacturers and relevant stakeholders to work together immediately to restore our nation's ability to provide affordable, effective medical treatment to cancer patients."

Consolidation within the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing challenges and regulatory complexities have in recent months led to a shortage of many of the primary, often generic drugs used to fight cancer in the United States. Many cancer patients face delays in treatment or are forced to take less-effective substitute medications. They suffer needless side effects and must wait longer for their treatment to run its course. Oncologists report having to prioritize who receives the scarce drugs that used to be readily available to Americans.

Solving the drug shortage crisis will require cooperation by multiple stakeholders, including industry, government, providers and suppliers.

"Having to choose which patients receive life-saving therapies is a terrible and tragic dilemma," said Dr. Craig Nichols, Lance Armstrong's oncologist and member of LIVESTRONG's board of directors. "The drugs oncologists count on to save patients' lives are in short supply and we can't rely on their availability. It is a national tragedy that we are no longer able to provide the care we did just months ago. We must act with great urgency to restore our ability to provide patients access to affordable, quality care today."

LIVESTRONG is the brand of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, created in 1997 by the cancer survivor and champion cyclist to serve people living with cancer and empower communities to take action against the world's leading cause of death. The LIVESTRONG story-gathering campaign asks U.S.-based cancer patients, their loved ones and health care providers to report their drug shortage experiences. The Tell Your Story, Call for Change campaign is the first of its kind in response to the national drug shortage crisis. The campaign will continue throughout 2012 and will expand to convey Americans' calls for a swift end to the crisis.

About LIVESTRONG/Lance Armstrong Foundation
LIVESTRONG serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world's leading cause of death. Created as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the organization is now known publicly by its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and is a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. Originating with the iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG has become a symbol of hope and inspiration to people affected by cancer around the world. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $400 million for the fight against cancer. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.

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