Once Again, the FDA and Avastin Are Doing the Hokey Pokey

A couple of months ago we gave a shout-out to a physician who had written a commentary about Genentech's efforts to have the FDA bless the use of its drug Avastin for treatment of certain breast cancers. He had objected to the use of patient testimonials as compelling evidence to support such appeals because they're not science, they're marketing.

In what the company and its supporters probably consider honorable tenacity but thinking minds ascribe to naked greed and abuse of taxpayer resources, the FDA again this week is hearing the case for approving Avastin as a conditional treatment for certain breast cancers, never mind that studies have shown it to be neither life-prolonging nor markedly life-enhancing. In the face of life-threatening side effects, Genentech still champions the drug because it has helped some patients.

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