FDA Revokes Approval of Avastin for Treating Breast Cancer

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Friday, the FDA ruled that cancer drug Avastin should not be used to treat breast cancer because Avastin’s risky side-effects outweigh its benefits for breast cancer patients. "Women who take Avastin for metastatic breast cancer risk potentially life threatening or serious side-effects, such as heart attacks or heart failure, severe high blood pressure, bleeding or hemorrhaging," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said

Avastin still has FDA approval for treating lung, kidney, and colon cancer, and despite the ruling, Medicare will still cover Avastin for breast cancer patients. Joe Nocera, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, argues that the FDA made the right decision.

Comments [1]

Sandy from Brooklyn, NY

That's why we have doctors. Neither the statistical method nor the insurance companies should attempt to interfere in the relationship between doctor and patient. Statistics don't apply to individuals. Insurance companies should not be making decisions about whether a particular drug is appropriate for a particular patient.

Avastin is used extensively to treat wet macular degeneration, for instance. The doctors who experimented with it as an off-label use discovered that it can be very useful, and less expensive than another similar drug. Insurance companies pay for it.

Nov. 22 2011 08:38 AM

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