PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — U.S. Sen. Richard “Dick” Durbin came to Carle Health Methodist Hospital in Peoria to address the national shortage of life-saving medications.

The Illinois Democrat said on Tuesday this was caused by fragile supply chains for generic medication, manufacturing problems, and over-reliance on materials from foreign countries. He met with Carle Health doctors

Dr. Keith Knepp, president of Carle Health Greater Peoria, said during the Durbin press conference that these drugs are essential for fighting off cancers.

“The chemotherapy drugs or medications we use that either slow down the growth or kill the cancer cells altogether so just one of the key tools we have in fighting cancer for a patient,” Knepp said.

Durbin read an emotional letter from an Illinois resident pleading for help getting her mother-in-law’s medication.

“My mother-in-law has stage 4 cancer and is in desperate need of the chemo drug carboplatin in order to stay alive. Her oncologist has moved her to this medication which is the one thing that has the potential to save her. The drug however is in short supply and her doctor cant get it. We’re not ready to lose her,” the senator read from the letter.

Durbin added this was a national problem and hospitals are having to prioritize their patients.

“These are front-line medications that treat hundreds and thousands of U.S. cancer patients but because of limited supplies, providers are forced to ration care for their sickest patients, delaying or denying care for others. We know this can have a life or death consequence,” he said.

As of today, 300 drugs are in short supply nationwide, which is a 30% increase from 2021.