Are the very drugs used by cancer patients to help them get better actually making them worse? A panel of government safety advisors with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks so. Aranesp and Procrit, used to treat anemia in chemotherapy patients, pose the risk of advancing cancer and shortening the lives of users.
Contrary to the belief of many medical professionals and cancer patients, the FDA panel does not believe there is sufficient evidence that Aranesp and Procrit improve patients’ quality of life and fight their fatigue. The dangerous effects of the drugs appear even more pronounced when taken at higher dosages.
Manufacturers, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, are also under fire for paying out millions of dollars to doctors who prescribe Aranesp and Procrit. Disclosed documents show that in 2006 alone six cancer doctors received $2.6M from Amgen for prescribing $9M worth of their drugs.