Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, December 17, 2010

They'll keep spouting this nonsense . . .

. . .until somebody stops them. The FDA has decided to withdraw approval of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer. Their reasoning, which I know is unspeakably cruel and atrocious, is that it doesn't work. Women who are given the drug for that purpose live not one day longer, and often suffer unpleasant side effects. This means that once the decision is final (Genentech can appeal) Medicare, and most likely private insurers, won't pay for it. Which is a good thing for the rest of us, because it's all of our money, and it could be going to safe and effective treatments instead. You can already guess what the Republicans are saying, those champions of fiscal responsibility, implacable foes of wasteful government spending, and defenders of freedom.

Reporting by NYT's Andrew Pollack:.

The F.D.A.’s decision also drew political criticism, with some Republicans contending that withdrawing this treatment for breast cancer was akin to rationing under the new health care law.

“It is troubling that women in Germany and France will soon have access to a life-saving drug, while women in the U.S. will not,” Representative Kay Granger, a Texas Republican, said in a separate statement.

When will the corporate media, and the people, catch on that these people don't actually believe a single word they say. They don't give a moldy fig about the federal deficit, wasteful spending, or for that matter Medicare or your health. They only care about their corporate masters. This is not a life saving drug, that's the whole point. It is, however, a money making drug for Genentech. That's the only thing that matters to Kay Granger.


C. Corax said...

I wish the article had gone into more detail about this: "The F.D.A. decision was issued on the same day that the European Medicines Agency, operating under different rules but with the same data, left Avastin available to breast cancer patients, but in a narrower way than it had before."

What is that "narrower way"? Also, it might have been helpful to list the sorts of side effects it causes, since we're talking about quality of life at the end of a woman's life.

Cervantes said...

Well, the European Medicines Agency doesn't really cut any mustard. It's an EU body that allows drug companies to make a single application to be approved for marketing, but the member countries make their own decisions about whether they'll reimburse for drugs under specific circumstances. So I would expect most of them will follow suit and not pay for Avastin in metastatic breast cancer. The companies can market it, but only very rich people will be able to afford it.