Nick Allen and Andrew Hough
Aug 17, 2010
America’s health watchdog is considering revoking its approval of the drug Avastin for use on women with advanced breast cancer, leading to accusations that it will mark the start of ‘death panel’ drug rationing.
A decision to rescind endorsement of the drug would reignite the highly charged debate over US health care reform and how much the state should spend on new and expensive treatments.
Avastin, the world’s best selling cancer drug, is primarily used to treat colon cancer and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008 for use on women with breast cancer that has spread.
It costs $8,000 (£5,000) a month and is given to about 17,500 women in the US a year. The drug was initially approved after a study found that, by preventing blood flow to tumours, it extended the amount of time until the disease worsened by more than five months. However, two new studies have shown that the drug may not even extend life by an extra month.
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 3:39 am