Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE:JNJ) Cerenovus is discontinuing production of its Codman pumps designed to deliver targeted chemotherapy to the liver for patients with liver cancer, according to a New York Times report.
The devices are designed to be implanted in the abdomen to deliver chemotherapy directly to the liver to treat cancer that has spread to the area, generally from the colon or rectal tumors, according to the report.
Johnson & Johnson is reportedly ending production due to “significant and multiple raw material supply constraints within the manufacturing process,” according to the Times.
Patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering who received the pump lived approximately two years longer than those who did not get the therapy, according to the report, which cited a study of 2,368 patients with colorectal cancer.
The company only sold approximately 300 units a year, but the units can be essential to the survival of patients with liver cancer, according to the report.
“Now I have to decide who gets this potentially lifesaving therapy,” Dr. Ryan Merkow of Northwestern University told the Times.
Other practitioners shared similarly difficult stories of choices being made based on the discontinuation of the devices, including a number of postponed and cancelled operations for patients with little to no options otherwise.
“Unfortunately, some of the suppliers that provide the materials, such as titanium rods needed for production of these pumps, have elected to exit the business or have found that the required materials are no longer available,” J&J Cerenovus spokesman Mindy Tinsley told the Times.
Johnson & Johnson said that it is still pursing alternatives, though would not say what they were.
Competitor Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) produces a similar pump, according to the report, but is designed for use with the spine and lacks a catheter used with the Codman pump.