(CBS/AP) – The federal government is stepping in to help ease the shortage of two life-saving cancer drugs, Doxil and methotrexate, regulators announced Tuesday.

The FDA said it will temporarily allow importation of a replacement drug for Doxil, a drug for ovarian and other cancers that hasn’t been available for new patients for months.

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The agency also approved another supplier for a preservative-free version of methotrexate, a crucial drug for children with a type of leukemia calledacute lymphoblastic leukemia and for high-dose treatment of bone cancer. The version with preservatives can be toxic or cause paralysis in children and other patients getting the drug high doses.

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The FDA also has approved the release of a batch manufactured by Ben Venue Laboratories Inc., shortly before it closed several factories and its complex in Bedford, Ohio, possibly for a year, due to serious quality problems. That closing is what turned the on-again, off-again methotrexate shortage that began in late 2008 into a crisis almost overnight, with fears that patients would begin missing treatments as soon as the end of this month.

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