Analysis finds Johnson & Johnson's cancer drug cost-efficient


HORSHAM, Pa. An analysis sponsored by Johnson & Johnson’s biotech division and published in the Journal of Medical Economics has shown that one of its cancer drugs costs less than a competing drug from Amgen.

The analysis, published in the journal’s spring issue, found that J&J biotech unit Centocor’s Procrit (epoetin alfa) was associated with lower drug costs when used to treat chemotherapy patients than Amgen’s Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa). Both drugs are synthetic forms of the hormone erythropoietin called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, or ESAs, which stimulate red blood cell growth.

The retrospective cohort study examined data on 10,928 patients, investigating current real-world dosing patterns and associated ESA costs. The data showed that the cumulative cost for Procrit was $4,321, versus $6,089 for Aranesp, with a dose ratio of 255 units of Procrit to 1 microgram of Aranesp.

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