With the FDA preparing to focus on questions regarding the safety of anemia drugs, there are a series of new reports out pointing to huge rebates Johnson & Johnson and Amgen have been paying to cancer doctors and kidney dialysis centers that prescribe the medications. The New York Times led the chorus with a piece that outlines the hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates being paid. One practice that prescribed $9 million worth of anemia drugs received $2.7 million in rebates. A memo quoted in a Wall Street Journal piece noted that a doctor who prescribed a million dollars of anemia drugs over 15 months would get a $237,885 rebate check. The rebates are legal, but the revelations come at a time when the FDA has been questioning the efficacy and safety of the blockbuster drugs. And there have been indications that some treatment centers have been increasing the dosages given to some patients, raising serious safety issues.
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