Shares in Amgen Inc. shot up 5.5 percent Tuesday after a panel of expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug said that labels on Amgen's best-selling anemia drugs do not need to reflect lower dosages than now recommended.


The panel cast two 14-5 votes Tuesday finding that the drugs should continue to be given to cancer patients in order to help them boost red blood cells. The panel met as a result of studies released earlier this year indicating that the drugs increased the risk of heart attack, stroke and death when given at higher doses than stated on the label.

The FDA panel of prominent cancer doctors suggested that lowering the label dosages, as some critics have called for, would increase the chance that patients would need transfusions.


Amgen's drugs, marketed as Epogen and Aranesp, generated nearly $7 billion in sales last year while another drug, Johnson & Johnson's Procrit, had $3.18 billion in sales.


Shares in Amgen closed up 5.5 percent, or $2.84, to $53.88 Tuesday on trading on the Nasdaq. Shares had been down 29 percent since Jan. 22.

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