Friday, December 17, 2010

FDA denies Avastin for breast cancer; a dollars and cents approach to life and death (Video)

The FDA has decided that patients with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer should not be provided with the drug Avastin. The decision will be appealed.

About one week ago I had written the article "Avastin, the FDA, death panels and rationed healthcare". It described the decision due to be released by the FDA that would directly affect those patients suffering with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

While controversial the drug has worked wonders for some patients in the past saving their lives, while having limited success for others.

In the article I said the following:

"...Will this decision be the poster child for the rationing of healthcare and yes, an example of the oft mentioned death panels where decisions are made more by the expense incurred than by the potential benefit to the patient.

I was alerted to this upcoming decision by someone whose mother was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer (see her story here)(sign a petition here). She was given Avastin and after a long tough fight today lives cancer free. Tell this family and others like it that the risk/reward is not worth the expense..."

While Avastin will still be approved for the use in treating other types of cancers, off label it would cost the patients who would still want to use it for breast cancer treatment about $88,000 a year.

This video tells the story of Avastin, the dollars and cents impact on life and death and the intrusion of bureaucratic bean counting on medical decision making.

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