Turbulence ahead for cancer drugs with Ben Venue exit

In contrast to Sagent Pharmaceutical's ($SGNT) half-full view of the drug-shortage glass, Boehringer Ingelheim apparently sees it as half empty. And leaking.

Boehringer has decided it's time for its Ben Venue Labs unit to cut and run from the CMO business. The company aims to streamline its business and hone in on its Bedford Laboratories generics business, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Ben Venue is a supplier to Pfizer ($PFE) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) for injectable and inhaled drugs, reports Dow Jones, which credits Ben Venue's Cleveland plant for drug shortages at the same time it faces a Canadian blockade of some drugs allegedly because of manufacturing violations. Takeda and Bristol-Myers Squibb also are Ben Venue clients.

Health Canada warned doctors about cancer drug shortages as well as shortages of drugs to treat infections and other hospital ailments, according to Canada's CBC News. Seventeen drugs, used for leukemia, breast and ovarian cancer and other tumors and sarcomas, are on the list.

European regulators, meanwhile, have limited the import of drugs made at Ben Venue's plant to certain medically necessary products, according to the company.

Ben Venue said in July that it was experiencing manufacturing capacity restraints causing shortages for some products, including J&J's chemo drug Doxil. J&J is reportedly making preparations to hire another contract manufacturer.

Pfizer said it's been working with Health Canada on approval for another supplier of an ingredient for the cancer drug, Torisel.

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- here's the CBC report