Shareholders sue Amgen over anti-anemia drugs

Amgen Inc. is the subject of a class-action suit announced late yesterday by San Diego-based law firm Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.
“We believe the allegations have no merit,” Amgen spokesman David Polk told Providence Business News in an e-mail this morning.
The lawsuit, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accuses the company and certain officers and directors of violating the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It is being brought by investors who purchased Amgen shares between May 4, 2005, and March 9, 2007, Lerach Coughlin said.
During that period, the complaint says, the company marketed its anti-anemia drugs Epogen and Aranesp for “off-label” uses, and sold hundreds of thousands dollars worth of the drugs each year for such uses.
The drugs encourage the creation of red blood cells. But in October 2006, researchers found that Aranesp appeared to increase the death rate of patients in a cancer study, the complaint says. The results were reported in February 2007, and in March the FDA ordered Amgen to place “black box” warning about off-label uses on both Epogen and Aranesp.
The news caused Amgen’s stock price to decline, Lerach Coughlin said. The complaint alleges that “defendants misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts,” thus harming investors who purchased Amgen shares “without knowledge of the misrepresented or omitted facts” before the research findings were disclosed.
Additional information on the lawsuit is available at www.lerachlaw.com/cases/amgen/. Information about Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN) and its products is available at www.amgen.com.

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