17 Dec 2014

Patients have cancer drug dosage cut

12:26 pm on 17 December 2014

A global shortage of a treatment for bladder cancer is having an impact on patients in New Zealand, with some having their doses cut.

The drug BCG is aimed at helping high-risk patients avoid more aggressive surgery such as bladder removal.

This month, 28 patients in the Auckland District Health Board area had their BCG dosage cut.

The company in charge of the drug's production advised the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand in October of concerns about production and supply.

A society spokesperson, Stephen Mark, told Nine to Noon the situation was far from ideal.

"I think no-one would consider it satisfactory where you've got a goal and an objective that's unable to have been met, and we all feel sorry that we're unable to meet that situation," said Dr Mark.

The drug is made by one production plant in the world - in Switzerland.

no caption

Photo: AFP

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs