Medicare has decided to broaden its criteria for payment of Amgen's top drug, the anemia treatment Epogen.
The Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare, indicated in March that it would raise the limit on red blood cell production for Epogen users. The agency recently sent a letter to insurers about the change, Amgen said.
"It's the first time they agreed to the change in writing," said David Kaye, a spokesman for the Thousand Oaks-based Amgen.
Epogen made up almost half of Amgen's $2.4 billion in 1997 revenue. Many of the drug's sales are made through Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly and disabled.