CMS keeps status quo on Amgen's anemia meds

Amgen got some good news from Medicare officials. They won't change reimbursement terms for the pricey anemia drugs used to treat kidney patients. As Reuters reports, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided not to put out nationwide guidance for reimbursements, rather than restrict use of Amgen's Epogen treatment as some had feared.

Epogen is one of three erythropoiesis stimulating agents used to treat kidney patients, but it's the only one approved for use in patients already undergoing dialysis. And it was the use of ESAs in dialysis patients that had been open for debate. Safety fears had a some experts advising that dosage be limited in Epogen patients, a move that of course would have cut into the drug's sales.

"There simply, and rationally, isn't enough info at this time to change current treatment guidelines," RBC Capital Markets analyst Michael Yee wrote in a note to investors (as quoted by Bloomberg). Medicare officials had tentatively recommended leaving those guidelines as-is back in March, but didn't make that decision final until yesterday.

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