Clinic reports $90,000 in cancer drugs missing
BY justin dennis
Chemotherapy drugs valued at $90,000 were reported missing from a cancer clinic Thursday.
Workers at the Blood and Cancer Center along Boardman-Canfield Road noticed 25 vials of Fulphila, a cancer therapy injection drug, were missing from the center laboratory Jan. 4, when a patient was prepared for the treatment, according to a Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office report.
Each of the 6-milligram vials costs $3,600, according to the report.
Aline Chahine, a spokesperson for the center, said Friday the center has yet to locate the drugs and is investigating the disappearance. She clarified Fulphila, while “very expensive,” is not a controlled substance that can be abused in any way.
The vials were delivered to the center Dec. 27 and placed in storage by a center nurse. The lab is not publicly accessible – only staff and the center’s maintenance worker have access, the report states.
Deputies called Thursday afternoon to investigate recorded names of center staff working on Dec. 27 and are seeking surveillance footage of the lab and its exit and entrance from several cameras inside the building, the report states.
Chahine said Friday it was too early for the center to confirm how the drugs went missing.
Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force commander Sgt. Larry McLaughlin said though the force hasn’t investigated chemotherapy drugs finding their way onto the black market, “there could be a black market for anything.”
Fulphila was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early June. It can decrease infection risk for patients whose blood cell creation has been suppressed by chemotherapy. National Drug Code specifications for Fulphila indicate the drug can be self-administered after training from a health care worker.
The Blood and Cancer Center provides chemotherapy infusions and immunology, biotherapy and in-house lab testing services, along with support groups, according to its website, regionalbccenter.com.
Representatives from the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy could not be reached for comment Friday.