The bad news: The CMS decision -- made in an effort to position itself as Hillary Clinton's Best Practice Institute -- will deny cancer patients access to blood boosting drugs that make such treatments -- and the increased survival -- possible.
Here's what prospective randomized trial of colorectal cancer patients found:
"Anaemia was a strong predictor for activity of first-line 5FU-based chemotherapy especially in those groups that showed the best responses, for example high performance status, infusionally treated, higher 5FU dose and those with liver secondaries. Patients with higher haemoglobin levels recorded a greater response rate and a longer time to progression and survival than anaemic subjects. Prospective evaluation of role of correcting anaemia on response to therapy is justified by these results."
Br J Cancer. 2006 Jul 3;95(1):13-20. Epub 2006
CMS -- with it's decision to withhold access to ESAs that correct anemia in cancer patients - is sure to join the ranks of the UK is insuring that more people die of cancer than medical science would permit.