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BCG shortage

I recently had a TURBT resection of a non invasive, but high grade papillary urothelial carcinoma (complicated by a bladder wall perforation). I was told in followup today that although BCG treatment is indicated, there is a worldwide shortage of it so it is being reserved for more serious cancers. I was advised to start Intravasical Gemzar infusions instead.

What do people know about this shortage and is it really worldwide - or just in my little corner of western North Carolina.?

  1. hi. I am not medically trained nor do I have specifics on the exact availability of BCG. I do know however that there is just one main company supplying BCG in the US. Since the covid pandemic there has been some periods of shortage worldwide. Wishing you luck with your treatment. Let us know how you get on. Laura, Moderator,

    1. there is a BCG shortage in the USA, but not world wide. The issue in the USA is manufacturing capacity, it’s down to 1 “factory”, and it takes 4-5 years to get a new one going. BCG is very low profit as well…and there are many barriers to importing foreign strains (Japan strain is under clinical trial in the USA right now.)
      HG NMIBC is the most serious kind of treatable bladder cancer, it’s what I have. Gemcitabine and docetaxel is the other standard treatment, that’s what I was referred to after I had a recurrence after 9 BCG treatments. I went with a clinical trial instead because one was available (KEYTRUDA and Gemcitabine combo) and the success rate for BCG refractory disease (cancer didn’t respond to BCG) was in the 40% range for GemDoc.

      1. That is upsetting news, that you have no more access to BCG and it also seems to be the only treatment option for you.
        I based my comment on the contacts and friends I have in Japan and the Northern Cone of South America (Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and Peru), where there is plenty of BCG. They are trying to export it to the USA, that doesn't help you, but the USFDA is forcing the BCG suppliers to both gain approval from the FDA AND industry, in this case Merke. That takes a long time for those in need.

      2. @Bookworm63 - Are there any other possibly treatments for you at this time as BCG is unavailable? It seems from posts that I read that BCG is available easily in some places and difficult to find in others. I hope that additional options become available to you during this shortage. Please keep us posted on how things are going. My best to you. Linda ( moderator, team member)

    2. I was told the same thing on Long Island NY. I was given Mitomycin 3 times and Gembiticine twice

      1. that is just super. Wishing you well and good luck with the next cystoscopy result. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Wishing you well. Laura, Moderator,

      2. @jackrayher - congrats on progressing to 6 month cystos. Sending good vibes that you continue to stay in remission. My best to you. Linda ( moderator, team member)

    3. I was told the same and am currently having treatments with Gemzar. I'm also in western NC.

      1. @hairball - great news to hear. I think everyone needs to find that right treatment that works for them. Congrats on finding what works for you. My best. Linda ( moderator, team member)

      2. Hey. Good to hear from you. Anything new is daunting. Glad it is underway. Good luck with your next treatment, tomorrow. Let us know how you get on. Laura, Moderator,

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