WXXI AM News

drug shortage

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

 

Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the federal government and drug manufacturer Merck to address what he called a “critical shortage” of a bladder cancer drug.

The New York Democrat spoke Monday at the University of Rochester Medical Center alongside health care providers and a bladder cancer patient, Bill Burchell.

Burchell, who lives in Webster, said he found out he had bladder cancer eight months ago. He got the news from doctors at URMC, who told him the type of cancer he had was aggressive.

“Sometimes the panic sets in,” Lyn Lessard said. “It’s the worst part of my job.”

Lessard handles drug purchasing for Rochester Regional Health’s Unity Hospital in Greece, where drug shortages -- many caused by manufacturing and supply problems -- have become routine.

“It really is the new normal,” Lessard said. “You have to find something to help these patients. You can’t put this on the back burner. It’s got to be the first thing that you’re working on, all the time.”