Study supports illegal darbepoetin marketing claim

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  • Use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) for chemotherapy-induced anemia (CIA) decreased between 2002 and 2010. 
  • Per-patient dosing of darbepoetin (Aranesp), but not epoetin (Mircera), increased between 2003 and 2010. 
  • Monthly per-patient costs decreased 3% for epoetin and increased 30% for darbepoetin.

Why this matters

  • In 2004, 2007, and 2008, US FDA committees warned of risks of ESAs for CIA. 
  • In 2015, the manufacturer of darbepoetin paid a litigation settlement of $72 million relating to allegations of marketing darbepoetin at doses greater than those approved by the FDA. 
  • The are the first data on epoetin vs darbepoetin use for CIA.

Study design

  • Study evaluated 3689 patients with CIA.
  • Funding: American Cancer Society.

Key results

  • 35% patients had at lea...