Congressman Alexander Tells FDA Not To Cut Avastin From Breast Cancer Patients

December 8, 2010

17,000 Women Fighting Breast Cancer Could Lose Drug Pending Decision By FDA

Congressman Rodney Alexander (R) was one of five congressional members to sign a letter expressing concern that Avastin will be taken off the market for women battling breast cancer without any justification other than as a cost cutting measure. The letter stated that the five members felt that “Limiting access to this treatment is unthinkable and we are struggling to see any justification other than cost”.

Avastin is an innovative tumor-starving therapy designed to block the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor protein that is produced by normal cells and overproduced by cancer cells. In addition to being used for breast cancer treatment, Avastin is also used for non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, brain cancer, and kidney cancer. Avastin is used for treatment of advanced cancer because of the side effects. Many people are concerned that at an average cost of $55,000 per treated person to the insurance companies, that the Federal government is going to be unwilling to pay the steep amount under new regulations passed in 2010.

Fearing that this is an intrusion into decisions made between the doctor and the patient, the congressmen also stated in the letter “Perhaps most important, the decision about what course of treatment is best kept between the patient and their health care provider, not a group of bureaucrats whose mission is to contain costs”. Critics believe that denying the availability of Avastin is limiting the choices available to the doctor and patients, and that it’s an unnecessary limitation on patient choice.

The other four signers of the letter were Kay Granger (R-TX), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Tom Latham (R-IA), and Dennis Rehberg (R-MT). You can view the letter by clicking the link below.


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