Aetna restricts use of anemia drugs

It's an anemia-drug pile-on: Aetna has tightened up its reimbursement rules for Aranesp, Epogen, and Procrit--and analysts believe it will be the first of many private insurers to make the move. Medicare restricted dosages in July after evidence surfaced that higher dosages could cause severe heart problems.

While Aetna's new policy isn't as restrictive as Medicare's, it is limiting. It requires patients to have low hemoglobin before getting the drug. And the insurer says it doesn't plan to back off from the change even if members balk. Earlier this summer, Blue Shield of California tried to restrict the drugs' dosages but changed its mind soon after when members complained.

If more private insurers follow Medicare's example, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson could suffer badly. Amgen's Aranesp sales fell 20 percent in the third quarter following Medicare's limitation.

- check out the report from the Los Angeles Times

Related Articles:
The top five layoffs of 2007: J&J | Amgen
FDA backs Medicare's anemia drug limits. Report
Medicare cap on anemia drugs could hammer Amgen. Report
Amgen, J&J win a round in anemia controversy. Report
New rules limit use of anemia drugs. Report

Suggested Articles

Alnylam is ready to follow on its Onpattro launch with an FDA nod for Givlaari. But the drug's safety profile is giving analysts reason to pause.

FDA nominee Stephen Hahn faced questions from Senators on Wednesday on topics including drug pricing, biosimilars, opioids and more.

BMS’ Opdivo-Yervoy combo been game-changing in late-stage melanoma. But when it comes to expanding the pair’s reach, the company has hit a roadblock.