Epogen, Aranesp and Procrit–Tumors grow faster

Epogen and Procrit have been used for about 20 years. They have been shamelessly marketed as an adjuvant to treat fatigue, rather than therapy for cancers. They were promoted as safe and effective.

Now after all these years we learn:

Studies have shown that the drugs, which sell under the trade names Epogen, Aranesp and Procrit, can cause tumors to grow faster and shorten the lives of some cancer patients.

They also:

increase risk of heart failure, blood clots and stroke.

Medicynical note: This is a more profound product liability problem than Toyota’s. Where’s the outrage? Congressional interest?

These drugs accounted for tens of billions of dollars in health care expenses since the early 90’s. The companies aggressively, and I mean aggressively, marketed to consumers as well as physicians. Creating organizations to flog the concept that we needed to address the fatigue in cancer problem. There was a feeling all along that these blood cell stimulators might have an effect on tumor cells as well. Were the studies done early on? No! Who knew what and when?

This is a strong argument for a routine impartial review of drug efficacy rather than leaving it to the undermanned FDA and biased drug companies.

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