FDA grants hearing on cancer drug Avastin

Apr 11, 2011

Drugmaker Roche is challenging the FDA's ruling that the medication Avastin is not effective in treating breast cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a hearing regarding the cancer drug Avastin, which Swiss drug maker Roche is defending months after the agency ruled it is ineffective for breast cancer treatment.

The drug, which has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of lung, kidney, brain and colon cancer, was not found to extend or improve the lives of women suffering from breast cancer. As a result, the FDA attempted to revoke the drug's approval for breast cancer treatment. However, in an unprecedented move, Roche has challenged the decision and requested the hearing to defend the effectiveness of the drug.

"We believe Avastin is an important option for women with this disease and should remain an FDA-approved choice," Roche Chief Medical Officer Hal Barron said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, the FDA approved Avastin for breast cancer treatment in 2008 but then revoked it after studies found the drug only stalled the spread of cancer for up to three months.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which reported more than 200,000 U.S. women were diagnosed with the disease in 2007. While deaths from breast cancer have declined slightly, those who are diagnosed may still want to buy a life insurance policy as a source of extra financial protection for themselves and their families.

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