Anemia drugs made billions, but at what cost?
Low red blood cell levels are a sign of anemia, traditionally treatable by blood transfusion, but California drugmaker AmGen developed a safer choice: a combination of drugs to restore red blood cell levels. However, neither AmGen nor the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized or acknowledged trial results showing that boosting red blood cell levels part of the way back to normal was safer than restoring them completely – while Congress supported financial incentives for doctors to err on the side of prescribing more of the drugs.
Daniel Coyne, a medicine professor previously paid by AmGen to promote the drug treatment, used FOIA to pursue the trial results – and obtained them three and a half years after his initial request.
anemia, AmGen, pharmaceutical, red blood cell, transfusion, drug, Food and Drug Administration, FDA, lobbying, Johnson & Johnson, Medicare, Epogen, Procrit, Aranesp, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Health Care Financing Administration, reimbursement, Government Accountability Office, GAO
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