J&J expects weak sales of Procrit

WASHINGTON Johnson & Johnson is expecting continued weakness in the market this year for its erythropoiesis-stimulating agent Procrit despite gaining share in the retail and hospital settings, the company said.

Procrit is marketed by J&J in the U.S. for all uses outside dialysis and diagnostic applications under a license granted by Amgen.

Amgen manufactures two big anemia drugs, Aranesp and Epogen, which decreased in sales in the fourth quarter, combined by 28 percent. Aranesp decreased 25 percent to $827 million and Epogen decreased by 3 percent to $638 million.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services restricted reimbursement for the class of drugs last year over safety concerns with the products, a decision that was formally appealed by Amgen.

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