Most patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) require transfusions due to chronic anemia. Apart from the acute risks associated with transfusions, chronic anemia and red blood cell (RBC) transfusion dependence impact negatively on survival and quality of life (QoL), and are associated with iron overload, potentially leading to organ damage. QoL studies demonstrate that regular transfusions do not correct the impact of chronic anemia. Furthermore, chronic transfusion support requires substantial resources. Therefore, major goals are to prevent or effectively treat anemia. Indeed, innovative drugs have been shown to be effective in achieving transfusion independence by altering the natural course of MDS.