Friday, March 23, 2007

Procrit, Aranesp and Epogen News: Congressman Says Stop the Ads

Congressman John Dingel has asked both Johnson & Johnson and Amgen Inc. to stop consumer advertising of their anemia medications for cancer patients until May 2007 or until the FDA wraps up an ongoing review.

Aranesp and Epogen (Amgen) and Procrit (J&J) have both been in the news over a recent clinical trial.

There is a planned May 10, 2007 FDA advisory panel meeting to determine among other things the black box warnings planned for the drugs. what, if any, additional measures need be taken to protect the public from unnecessary risks to human life from these products,'' Dingell said in the March 20 letters. His office confirmed the letters were sent today.

Procrit, Epogen and Aranesp are engineered versions of a protein called erythropoietin, or EPO. EPO promotes the production of red-blood cells, which carry oxygen through the blood. EPO has long been discussed in pro cycling circles. Go here for an article titled "Spinning in their Graves." Lance Armstrong had been given Epogen during his cancer battle.

The recent study suggested that blood clots, strokes and heart attacks may be linked to higher doses of these medications, a claim denied by the drugmakers.