J&J opens up Doxil rationing on 'limited' new supply

After months of restricting Doxil treatment to current patients, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has opened up its rationing program to new ones. A limited supply of the scarce treatment, used to treat ovarian and other cancers, has opened up, the company tells Dow Jones.

The shortage arose after manufacturing problems at J&J's sole supplier, Ben Venue Laboratories, forced the company to stop production at an Ohio plant. J&J since has worked with FDA to release Ben Venue's stock of Doxil, and the FDA separately allowed temporary imports of Sun Pharma's Lipodox, a similar drug not yet approved in the U.S.

J&J has unexpected room for new Doxil patients because some prior requests from doctors changed, a J&J spokeswoman told the news service. Enrollment of new patients will start Friday; anywhere from a few hundred to 2,000 patients might be added, depending upon the amount of drug earmarked for each patient, Dow Jones reports.

No newly produced Doxil is yet available. J&J has said it's working to nail down an agreement with another contract manufacturer.

- read the Dow Jones story