Watch CBS News

More on the kids featured in this week's 60 Minutes story on essential drug shortages

Why are so many drugs in short supply?
Life-saving generic drugs with low profit margins getting harder to procure 13:45

This Sunday, 60 Minutes reports on essential drug shortages that are affecting doctors, hospitals and patients daily. Two such patients are 8-year-old Mikah Carney and 18-year-old John Valenta, who were diagnosed with aggressive leukemia years ago. Their mothers, Sarah Carney and Cyndi Valenta, sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, and shared their reactions when doctors and nurses told them that the life-saving cancer drug their children were taking, Vincristine, was no longer available to them due to shortages.

"I was confused more than's hard to even understand how this could happen, you know, in our country, in America, to kids. A vital drug to keep their leukemia away was not available. And there was no alternative drug," Valenta says. 

After a week of scrambling back and forth between the drug manufacturer Pfizer, the hospital, and the cancer moms, Sarah and Cyndi did end up getting scarce doses of vincristine for their sons.

After four years of battling leukemia, Mikah finished treatment in November 2021, and will be considered cancer free in 2026. John finished treatment in August of 2020 and is currently in remission and will be considered cancer free in 2025. The boys still have regularly scheduled appointments for checkups and blood work.

Pfizer told 60 Minutes that "since 2019, we have prioritized production of Vincristine to ensure ample supply for patients and have been consistently supplying about 98% of the market."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.