Amgen said it expects changes in Medicare reimbursement rules to slow the sales growth of Epogen, one of its best-selling drugs, although it doesn't expect it to affect earnings significantly.
Amgen said in a statement that it is "comfortable" with analysts' per-share earnings estimates of $2.80 to $2.85 for the year and 70 to 73 cents for the second quarter. It had earnings of 64 cents a share in the same quarter last year.
The Thousand Oaks-based company said in April that its first-quarter profit rose 26% on increased sales of Epogen and another drug, Neupogen.
The drug maker said it expects to see a reduction in the year-to-year growth rate of sales of Epogen, which is used to spur red blood-cell growth in kidney disease patients. Changes in Medicare rules, scheduled to start Aug. 1, will cause kidney dialysis providers to withhold some doses of Epogen temporarily and give some patients reduced doses in the future.
In the first quarter, Amgen said sales of Epogen rose 19% to $292 million. It had total sales of $575.5 million.