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Anemia Drug Made Billions but at What Cost?

Anemia Drugs

Story at-a-glance -

  • Three anemia drugs -- Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp -- have been among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States for years, generating more than $8 billion a year for their makers, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson
  • After millions of people have taken these drugs, an investigation by the Washington Post revealed the benefits were “wildly overstated, and potentially lethal side effects, such as cancer and strokes, were overlooked”
  • Thanks to the drug companies’ lobbying, doctors and hospitals received major incentives for prescribing the drugs, particularly at high dosages
  • Effectiveness claims were based on a series of incomplete and never-published research, some of which were drawn out over a decade or more only to show inconclusive results; safety data was also misleading, and concerning results showing a higher risk of death and heart attacks in patients taking higher doses of the drugs were downplayed
  • No major class-action suits have so far been filed against the drugs’ makers; it is, unfortunately, often difficult to prove the drugs were the cause of death, particularly because patients who received them were typically already facing chronic health problems and were on a multitude of other prescriptions

By Dr. Mercola

Three anemia drugs – Epogen, Procrit and Aranesp – have been among the best-selling prescription drugs in the United States for years, generating more than $8 billion a year for their makers, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.


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