VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: A Food and Drug Administration panel of medical experts voted overwhelmingly to allow anemia drugs from Amgen Inc. to remain approved for patients with kidney disease, despite a recent study showing the injectable treatments can increase the risk of stroke.
BENEFITS WIN OUT: The medicines - Procrit, Aranesp and Epogen - are multibillion-dollar sellers because they boost oxygen levels in the blood, helping anemia patients reduce painful blood transfusions. Panelists said the benefits of the drugs for managing anemia outweighed risks of stroke.
MORE STUDIES NEEDED: Panelists said additional studies are needed to find the ideal drug dosage for kidney disease patients. Until then, doctors should use low levels of the drugs that still give patients relief from anemia.