Healthcare Industry News:  darbepoetin alfa 


 News Release - October 26, 2006

Study Evaluates Real-World Dosing and Cost Considerations for PROCRIT(R) (Epoetin Alfa) and Darbepoetin Alfa in the Inpatient Hospital Setting

Findings to be Presented at Oral Presentation at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy 2006 Annual Meeting

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 26 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Results of a large, retrospective database analysis suggested that PROCRIT® (Epoetin alfa) had a lower drug cost in the inpatient hospital setting compared to darbepoetin alfa, another drug in the same class.(1) Based on the average cumulative, administered doses per patient hospitalization and wholesale acquisition cost (WAC), the study showed that the calculated drug cost for darbepoetin alfa was approximately 50 percent more than PROCRIT. These erythropoietic agents are used to treat anemia -- low concentrations of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in red blood cells. These findings will be presented on Saturday at an oral presentation at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy 2006 Annual Meeting. The analysis was based on 92,467 patient records from over 500 hospitals nationwide. The researchers examined 25,645 records for patients with cancer and 66,822 records for patients with chronic kidney disease who were not on dialysis.

"Caring for patients who have cancer or chronic kidney disease in the hospital can get costly as these patients often experience complications of their disease, such as anemia, requiring additional resources," said Mei Sheng Duh, M.P.H., SC.D., vice president and chief epidemiologist at the Analysis Group, Inc. in Boston, and lead author of the new analysis. "In terms of anemia, our results suggest PROCRIT may be associated with lower drug costs and might provide an important option for hospitals looking to better manage pharmacy expenses."

Study Methodology

Study results should be interpreted with the following considerations:

* This study was not designed to evaluate the efficacy or safety of either product.

* March 2006 WAC values were used for the calculation of drug cost ($12.17/1000 Units PROCRIT; $4.446/mcg darbepoetin alfa; March 2006 Medi-Span Master Drug Database)

* Actual drug cost in different institutions may vary depending on the drug purchasing contract terms and conditions.

The researchers analyzed data from inpatient records of patients age 18 or older who were hospitalized for cancer or chronic kidney disease and who received erythropoietic treatment between July 2002 and March 2005. Patients who had received dialysis or both agents were excluded. Baseline demographics, including illness severity and length of stay, were comparable for all patients studied. Patient identities were not known. A total of 25,645 hospitalizations for patients with cancer were analyzed (Epoetin alfa: 22,873; darbepoetin alfa: 2,772), and 66,822 hospitalizations for patients with chronic kidney disease who were not on dialysis were analyzed (Epoetin alfa: 60,079; darbepoetin alfa: 6,743).

The average cumulative doses administered per inpatient stay for cancer patients were 62,060 Units for PROCRIT and 253.4 micrograms (mcg) for darbepoetin alfa resulting in a dose-only ratio between PROCRIT and darbepoetin alfa of 245:1. For patients with chronic kidney disease, the average cumulative doses per inpatient stay were 39,385 Units for PROCRIT and 162.7 mcg for darbepoetin alfa resulting in a dose-only ratio of 242:1.

Study Results

Based on wholesale acquisition costs from March 2006, the average per hospitalization cost was $755 for PROCRIT versus $1,127 for darbepoetin alfa (p<0.0001) for patients with cancer. For patients with chronic kidney disease, per hospitalization cost of treatment was $479 for PROCRIT versus $723 for darbepoetin alfa (p<0.0001).

The analysis was conducted by the Analysis Group, Inc. of Boston and supported by Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., marketer of PROCRIT.

About Anemia

Anemia is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen. Oxygen acts like fuel for the body, providing energy for muscles and organs to work. Common symptoms include fatigue or tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, decreased ability to concentrate, paleness and impaired ability to participate in formerly routine tasks.

About PROCRIT® (Epoetin alfa)

PROCRIT is for the treatment of chemotherapy-related anemia in patients with most types of cancer and for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease patients who are not on dialysis. PROCRIT is available by prescription only and is injected by a doctor or nurse. PROCRIT has been prescribed for more than 10 years to treat anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease not on dialysis.

Important Safety Information

PROCRIT is not for patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure. High blood pressure has been noted in patients treated with PROCRIT and blood pressure should be monitored carefully. Drugs like PROCRIT may increase the risk of blood clots and seizures. Loss of response to PROCRIT could be a sign of a very rare but serious condition. In studies, the most common side effects were high blood pressure, headache, joint pain, and nausea. Please visit for important product information.

About Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.

Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. is a leading biopharmaceutical company devoted to helping improve the lives of patients with cancer and with anemia due to multiple causes, including chronic kidney disease. Since it was founded in 1990, Ortho Biotech and its worldwide affiliates have earned a global reputation for researching, manufacturing and marketing innovative products that enhance patients' health. Located in Bridgewater, N.J., Ortho Biotech is an established market leader in Epoetin alfa therapy for anemia management. The company also markets treatments for recurrent ovarian cancer, rejection of transplanted organs and other serious illnesses. For more information, visit

(1) Please see study methodology section for details on cost calculations and considerations for interpreting results.

Source: Ortho Biotech Products

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