Doctors Paid Millions To Use Anemia Drugs

Among the world's top-selling medicines, the FDA now says they may be unsafe
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2007 8:34 AM CDT
Doctors Paid Millions To Use Anemia Drugs
Stethoscope   ((c) ernstl)

(Newser) – Doctors are paid millions of dollars by drug companies to give their patients anemia medicine which regulators now say may be dangerous. Spurred by competiton between several similar drugs, companies reward doctors with rebates, which allow them to make a significant profit, the New York Times reports.

But a new FDA study reveals that the drugs often don't work and may shorten patients' lives in high doses. The drugs—Aranesp and Epogen, from Amgen; and Procrit, from Johnson & Johnson—are given to a milion patients every year to treat anemia caused by kidney disease or chemotherapy, and represent Medicare's single largest drug expense. (Read more medicine stories.)

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