FDA Pulls Plug on Avastin

Women dealing with advanced stage breast cancer will soon be denied access to Avastin unless they have the money to pay for it out of pocket. 

"The FDA advisory panel has now voted 12-1 to drop the endorsement for breast cancer treatment. The panel unusually cited 'effectiveness' grounds for the decision. But it has been claimed that 'cost effectiveness' was the real reason ahead of reforms in which the government will extend health insurance to the poorest.

Once FDA rescinds approval, Avastin will no longer be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Private health insurance companies will follow suit.

"In the study, women who took Avastin in combination with the standard drug Taxol survived almost twice as long without their disease worsening as did women taking Taxol alone. That was an average of 11.3 months compared with 5.8 months. Tumors also shrank more in patients taking Avastin than in those taking Taxol alone. Another trial, released in June 2008, found similar results."

In other words, while Avastin does not extend life, it does extend quality of life, alleviating pain and suffering for women who are suffering from late-stage breast cancer.

Cost effectiveness studies weigh the cost of treatment against cure rates or extended life expectancy. If the principle effect of the drug is to make the end stage more comfortable that is not factored into the equation.

At $8,000 per month, if a woman wants Avastin they will have to pay for it themselves once FDA approval is withdrawn.

Some will argue this is the "death panel" that we were warned about under Obamacare.

More Americans will not die if Avastin is withdrawn for breast cancer. But, since the agony of end-stage cancer will come sooner rather than later, almost 18,000 women a year will soon wish they were dead, thanks to Obamacare.

Obamacare is coordinating many things with the FDA, including cost effectiveness studies to decide which treatment protocols should be continued and which should be dropped.

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