Amgen income hammered as anemia drug use drops

With sales of Aranesp and Epogen on the decline, biotech giant Amgen is feeling the impact right where it hurts the most: The bottom line. Third quarter profit for the company plunged 82 percent as Amgen accounted for restructuring costs resulting from fading sales. And CEO Kevin Sharer laid the blame at the feet of regulators who are ratcheting back on the use of the blockbuster anemia drugs. Sales of Aranesp plunged 23 percent to $818 million. Notably, Medicare wasn't the only payer to reduce reimbursements. Privately insured patients reduced their use of the drug by 30 percent to 40 percent--a key indicator of just how damaging federal regulations can be. Amgen announced plans to lay off 2,600 workers to account for the sudden change in fortunes in its anemia business. Amgen is paying a high price for years of complacency in relying on its anemia franchise instead of being more aggressive about developing new therapies that could add to the company's revenue stream.

- here's the report from The Wall Street Journal