13 Stories

Groundbreaking Multiple Sclerosis Drug Cleared by FDA

Ocrevus will be the first drug available to treat the more severe form of MS

(Newser) - A new drug that treats both the severe and the more common forms of multiple sclerosis in adult patients was approved by the FDA on Tuesday. Reuters and the AP report that after a three-month delay due to manufacturing concerns, Ocrevus will become accessible in the United States in two... More »

'Unprecedented' Study: Breast Cancer Drug Prolongs Life

Perjeta gives women about 16 extra months, study says

(Newser) - One of the most popular breast-cancer drugs on today's market is giving sufferers a significantly longer life, a new study says—as long as they can afford the $5,900 monthly price tag. In a clinical trial involving 808 women, those who took the drug Perjeta lived almost 16... More »

Why Doctors Pick $2K Drug Over Its $50 Cousin

Pricey Lucentis, cheaper Avastin 'same damn molecule': ophthalmologist

(Newser) - The prescription drugs Avastin and Lucentis both fight blindness in the elderly, and they're both made by the same company, Genentech, at what experts say is a similar production cost. The key difference between them: While an Avastin injection costs $50, a shot of Lucentis goes for $2,000.... More »

Lung Cancer Drug Could Be 'Game-Changer'

Roche drug more effective on smokers than non-smokers: study

(Newser) - An experimental drug is actually more effective against lung cancer in patients who smoke than those who never have, Reuters reports. MPDL3280A, a Roche drug, is "great news for lung cancer patients," who are notoriously difficult to treat, researchers say; one oncologist says early-stage trials suggest it is... More »

FDA Approves Pricey New Breast Cancer Drug

Full course of Roche's Kadcyla will cost $94K

(Newser) - The FDA has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. The drug Kadcyla from Roche combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medicines together. The chemical keeps the cocktail intact until it binds to... More »

Dangerous Counterfeit Cancer Drug Found in US

Fake Avastin missing active ingredient

(Newser) - A fake version of best-selling anti-cancer drug Avastin has been found in the US. Swiss drugmaker Roche has warned doctors and hospitals to be on the lookout for the counterfeit medication, which lacks the intravenous drug's active ingredient, the Wall Street Journal reports. Samples of the fake drug are... More »

FDA Panel: Don't Use Avastin for Breast Cancer

It recommends that agency revoke approval of popular drug

(Newser) - A special committee of the FDA voted unanimously to recommend revoking approval of the best-selling cancer drug in the world as a treatment for breast cancer. The panel says Avastin is ineffective in treating breast cancer and unsafe, paving the way for the government to remove its endorsement, reports the... More »

Feds Release Last of Kids Tamiflu Stockpile

Swine flu has killed at least 114 US children and teens

(Newser) - With the swine flu outbreak taking an enormous, and sometimes fatal, toll on American kids, the Centers for Disease Control today released the last of its stockpiles of the children’s version of flu drug Tamiflu. Some 114 youngsters have been reported killed by the virus, and the actual number... More »

Fears Trigger Rush on Liquid Tamiflu for Kids

Sporadic shortages reported around the country

(Newser) - Parents are scrambling in parts of the country to find liquid Tamiflu for their kids. It's selling out so quickly in drug stores that federal officials have given pharmacists a back-up plan: They can mix syrup with the powdery adult capsules—the precise ratio is determined by a child's weight—... More »

Swine Flu Sends Travel Stocks Falling

Airlines decline while drugmakers advance; Mexican peso tumbles

(Newser) - Stocks declined worldwide today, with travel companies leading losses as investors gave their first reaction to the outbreak of swine flu. Airlines took a pummeling—Lufthansa fell more than 12%, British Airways 8.7%—and tour operators like Carnival also suffered sharp drops. But pharmaceutical companies did well: drugmaker Roche,... More »

Colon Cancer Drug Flunks Important Test

Avastin's effects on early-stage disease don't meet expectations

(Newser) - Clinical trials to determine the drug Avastin’s effects on early-stage colon cancer were a big disappointment for drug firm Genentech, the New York Times reports. The drug, which is typically used in late-stage cancer, didn’t significantly cut the recurrence rate among 2,700 subjects in the early stages,... More »

Roche Gets Genentech in $46.8B Biotech Deal

(Newser) - Swiss drug giant Roche has succeeded in its quest to own biotech firm Genentech outright, and will purchase the 44% of shares it does not already own for $95 each, the San Francisco Chronicle reports today. The $46.8 billion deal comes after months of haggling, wherein Roche offered as... More »

Tamiflu Will Carry Stronger Warning Labels

Maker will beef up language on possible psychiatric side effects

(Newser) - The maker of flu drug Tamiflu said today it will accept recommendations by a government panel that it revise printed warnings about the medication's side effects. Labels already warn of possible psychiatric reactions, but the panel recommended noting that some people have died, the AP reports. Drugmaker Roche says flu... More »

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