Avastin voted down at FDA hearing

June 30, 2011 at 2:03 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- Patients spoke at a hearing in Washington in support of using Avastin for breast cancer, but federal regulators voted against using the drug for that purpose.

The Food and Drug Administration's Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 12-1 last July to strip Avastin's approval as a breast cancer drug because the drug was not improving the survival rate for women with breast cancer while at the same time exposing them to dangerous side effects.

At the hearing Wednesday, Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, defended its research, saying certain patients respond especially well and side effects, while potentially serious, are no worse than with other breast cancer drugs, CNN reported.

An expert said said for some women there are no better treatments available than Avastin, an approved breast cancer drug in Europe.

The drug will remain on the market for other cancer treatments, but if the FDA follows the panel's recommendation insurance companies wouldn't cover it for breast cancer patients and the cost of the drug -- about $100,000 a year -- may be too high for them to pay for themselves, CNN said.

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