Amgen the company that manufactures Epogen, otherwise known as EPO is to scale down and eventually stop production of the drug over the next twelve months.
Epogen is a legitimate medical treatment that increases the red blood cells in patients with certain cancers and kidney disease.
Used illegally by pro cyclists and other athletes, it also increase red blood cells, thereby carrying more oxygen to the muscles, resulting in a huge boost in performance.
I have always found it interesting and fascinating that Amgen sponsors the Tour of California professional bike race each year.
Is this a mere coincidence? At what board meeting did someone suggest that a company that makes medication for very sick people would benefit, and boost sales by sponsoring a professional bike race?
Amgen, based in Longmont, California is shutting down production of Epogen because of a steady decrease in sales over recent years. Figures went from 2.6 billion in 2009, to 2.5 billion in 2010, to 2 billion in 2011. (Note that is Billion with a “B.”) The decline in sales is still falling with current quarterly earnings down 3% on last year’s sales.
I am not speculating as to why Amgen’s sale of Epogen is declining, I am simply asking why? Are there less sick people needing the drug, because that is not how patterns in a population’s health usually go. There may be fluctuations up and down from one year to the next, but not usually a steady decline.
Is it yet another coincidence that sales have declined since 2009, over the same period that professional cycling started to clean up its act? And is it possible that illegal sales of EPO could run into Billions with a “B?”
These are simply questions I am asking. I do not have the time or resources to follow up on this story. But it would be interesting to go into Amgen’s financial records and follow the money trail, and find out where all that Epogen went.