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Equivalence EPOnymous

Lessons from ASCO

Equivalence EPOnymous

The war between Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson over Medicare reimbursement was carried into presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, where each company presented data to show the advantages of its respective EPO product. Neither company scored an obvious knockout, and the more important inflection point will come later this summer, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) releases its proposed Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule for 2004.

The stakes in the EPO reimbursement battle are high for all of the participants. The most recently available data show that CMS spent $707 million on purchases of JNJ's Procrit epoetin alfa during the period 2001 through February 2002, or 12.2% of the agency's total drug

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