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ANEMIA DRUG OVERUSE

ANCHOR LEAD:  ARE DOCTORS OVERUSING MEDICATIONS TO TREAT ANEMIA?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Anemia, where the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen, is one of the most debilitating effects of chemotherapy and other conditions.  Medications to treat anemia help, but now studies show they shouldn’t be used unless anemia is moderate or severe, with some critics suggesting that doctors use them because they are given rebates.  Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, offers his opinion.

PARK:  I think from now on most oncologists and hematologists and physicians are going to be very very careful in how they prescribe these drugs.  They were originally thought to be extremely safe, very useful, and I’m not sure if there was really an overprescibing of them for reimbursement issues but I think that what’s going to happen is people are going to say, look, if we’re going to prescribe this drug does this patient actually derive any benefit from it and what is their risk of developing a side effect like heart attack or stroke?                  :28

I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.


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