The city of Boston's largest hospital system plans to reduce doses of anemia medicines made by Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. for kidney-disease and chemotherapy patients after a study linked them to heart risks.


The Boston Globe is reporting that similar drugs made by New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson will also be included in the planned reduction. This marks the first time a U.S. hospital system has ordered doctors to cut doses of Amgen's Epogen and Aranesp along with J & J;'s Procrit.


The new rules, which the Globe said will be adopted in early 2007, are designed to ensure that patients don't use medicines that raise their red blood cell counts above 12 grams per deciliter. Medicare data show that about half of dialysis patients routinely get higher-than-recommended doses of these drugs; prompting concern after a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggested excess doses increase the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes in patients.


Shares in Amgen were down 28 cents to $68.18.

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