The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety urgently notified that OncoTICE injection (ingredient: BCG strain tice), a treatment for bladder cancer, was not in shortage after rumors circulated that the medication might have been sold out.
Some news reports continued to raise concerns that MSD Korea might not be able to meet the local demand for OncoTICE until next year, even though the health authorities had assured hospitals and urology societies that there was “no problem” in the supply of the drug.
“MSD Korea has confirmed that although the global supply was not so smooth, there was no concern about supply discontinuation,” the ministry said in a statement. “The company notified medical institutions that there would be no treatment disruption.”
The government said it would carefully monitor the demand and the supply of OncoTICE to ensure a stable supply of the drug.
“In case the drug goes out of stock, the government would closely work with the Korean Urological Association to prepare an alternative therapy for patients,” it said.
Oncotai is used as adjunctive therapy for urinary intraepithelial cancer in the bladder and for urinary epithelial cell cancer patients who underwent transurethral resection.
Transurethral resection offers the advantage of preserving the bladder, but six or seven out of 10 patients suffer a recurrence. Thus, it is essential to reduce the risk of recurrence. To do so, physicians use MSD Korea’s OncoTICE, as it is the only available treatment.
In 2014, the medication was sold out once. As OncoTICE is a biological agent, its production takes at least three months.
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