IN THE COMMENTS: Irene said (after I said "Picture someone who wants that drug to live. It isn't funded. FDA approved, but you can't get it under Medicare. We don't have to go by their euphemisms. Why isn't "Death Panel" an appropriate statement and an important way to create alarm?"):
If Avastin is what stands between you and death, then yes, "Death Panel" is an "appropriate statement" and yes, it is appropriate to cause alarm.
Full disclosure. I have advanced ovarian cancer. Hello friends and relatives.
The statistics for my stage of ovarian cancer (Stage IIIc) project an 18% survival rate two years after diagnosis.
I took part in a clinical trial for Avastin. My provider recently revealed to me that I received the test drug.
I am approaching that two-year mark of initial diagnosis, and so far, I am doing well. I attribute that good result to Avastin, which prevents the regeneration of cancer cells. Yeah, I had some lousy side effects, but it seems to have worked.
Thank you, and good night, Irene.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has a long article about this controversy over Avastin.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the recommendation of influential scientific advisers to revoke authorization of the drug to treat metastatic breast cancer. Contrary to initial research, new studies indicate that the benefits of the drug, which costs $8,000 a month, do not outweigh its risks, the advisory panel concluded.
Citing a dearth of evidence of the drug's effectiveness, its potential toxic side effects, and its high cost, many cancer experts, patient advocates and others are welcoming the prospect that Avastin's authorization for breast cancer might be repealed. But the possibility is alarming other cancer specialists, women taking the drug, some members of Congress and advocates for giving patients as much access to as many treatments as possible.
The FDA is not supposed to consider costs in its decisions, but if the agency rescinds approval, insurers are likely to stop paying for treatment.In the cost-benefit analysis, your improved chance of living may not be worth $8,000 a month.
"It's hard to talk about Avastin without talking about costs," said Eric P. Winer, director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "For better or worse, Avastin has become in many ways the poster child of high-priced anti-cancer drugs."