In another example of how government kills…
On Dec. 17 the Food and Drug Administration is expected to take the radical step of revoking approval for an advanced drug in the treatment of one of the country’s most deadly diseases.
Avastin, an advanced treatment for late-stage breast cancer, made it through the FDA approval process back in 2008. But over the summer, an advisory commission at the agency determined that the drug wasn’t providing sufficient benefits to patients and recommended that the full FDA board retroactively rescind that stamp of approval.
The FDA has until Dec. 17 to make that recommendation official. If it does, the effects on breast cancer patients will be devastating. Some 17,500 American women are prescribed Avastin every year. Many will face shorter, more painful lives because of the FDA’s decisions.
And this is how the government protects us? I’m sorry, but the state’s apologists love to say how worse off we’d be without such wonderful agencies as the FDA. They love to claim how unsafe food and drugs are kept off the market, how evil drug companies would otherwise kill us for the sake of profit.
The only evil I see is the government, the only killing I see is the government’s. These “evil” drug companies are actually saving lives.
Is the drug really unsafe? Who’s to say? But here’s the real problem:
Despite all evidence to the contrary, the advisory committee claims its recommendation had nothing to do with Avastin’s cost. The FDA’s top brass will doubtlessly take the same line and claim that its decision to ratify that recommendation was based solely on the drug’s medical efficiency.
The truth is that Avastin is expensive. A year-long supply for breast cancer treatment costs upwards of $80,000.
However, if the FDA revokes Avastin’s approval, public insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare could decide to refuse coverage of the treatment. Many private insurers would likely do the same.
Both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance have sent letters to the FDA urging it not to revoke approval. They rightly believe that treatment decisions should remain exclusively in the hands of individual patients and their doctors.
And this much is certain as well:
Government drug rationing isn’t going to stop at Avastin.
Neither will government killing.