CMS considers anemia drug payment limits

The fallout continues for anemia drugs, which are taking a severe beating of late--and this time it's the mighty hand of CMS doing the slapping. CMS is now proposing some limits to covering anemia drugs like Procrit, Aranesp and Epogen, reserving payments for treating anemia associated with certain cancers. If the proposal goes through, CMS won't pay to use the drugs to prevent anemia, and it won't pay unless patients have a specified hemoglobin level. The announcement comes as an extremely rapid response to an FDA panel, which said last week that it believes such levels ought to be specified but declined to name a number. This is another round of bad news for drugmakers Amgen and Johnson and Johnson, which make a collective $10 billion a year on these medications.

To get more information on the decision:
- read this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)

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