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Aranesp coverage decision draws Congressional interest

Executive Summary

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services asked to provide more information about the basis of its decision to reimburse Amgen's Aranesp (darbepoetin) at the same level as Johnson & Johnson's Procrit (epoetin) under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule, in a Nov. 1 letter from Congressional members. Group requests further details about an "independent contractor" review that deemed the two products "functionally equivalent." The letter is signed by Sens. Grassley (R-Iowa), Baucus (D-Mont.), Hatch (R-Utah), Breaux (D-La.) and Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Reps. Tauzin (R-La.) and Bilirakis (R-Fla.). Amgen responded to the OPPS final rule, issued Oct. 31, by declaring it would work "to correct the inaccuracies in the rule in all appropriate forums" (1"The Pink Sheet" Nov. 4, p. 27)...

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