A June 26 hearing has been called by the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee to discuss safety concerns related to anemia drugs made by Amgen Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.


The hearing is a result of studies that were released earlier this year that showed Amgen's Epogen and Aranesp and J & J;'s Procrit increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death when taken in high doses.


The medicines are the biggest single expense in the U.S. Medicare health plan for the elderly and disabled and the hearing comes as a result of lawmakers continuing to encourage the government to change its reimbursement procedures so as not to give incentives to doctors who prescribe excess doses.


Sales of Epogen and Aranesp accounted for 47 percent, or $6.6 billion, of Thousand Oaks-based Amgen's total sales in 2006.


A list of experts and witnesses that will appear at the hearing was not made public.

Shares in Amgen closed down 43 cents Wednesday to $57.70 in trading on the Nasdaq.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.