The Food and Drug Administration has revoked the use of Avastin for treating breast cancer, however it will remain on the market for treatment of other types of cancer. This leaves only one option for women who feel that Avastin is working for them and that is to convince their doctors to keep prescribing Avastin to them as an off-label use. This means that in most cases, insurance companies would not cover the medication and that cost would fall back onto the patient. It is estimated that a woman taking Avastin would have to spend approximately $88,000 a year to continue treatment. This cost would put it out of reach for a vast majority of women.
Clinical trials have shown that Avastin was not helping breast cancer patients live longer or to successfully control the tumors. The trials also show that the drug exposes women with breast cancer to potentially serious side effects like high blood pressure and hemorrhaging.
The drug’s manufacturer, Genentech, was disappointed with the ruling having fought a hard-won battle to initially have the drug approved.
I have to admit that I am shocked by this. With breast cancer on the rise and treatment options for this disease are limited, why would you take a drug away that many women say helped them? Shouldn’t the woman who is taking the drug decide for herself if she wants to risk the possible side effects or not? Why remove this particular drug out of the arsenal for breast cancer yet leave it for other cancers – as if to dangle a carrot in front of a woman and telling her “sure you can still take it, but now YOU have to pay for it.”
One more example of government’s insistence on dictating what a woman does with her body.