FDA Panel: Don't Use Avastin for Breast Cancer

It recommends that agency revoke approval of popular drug
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 4:03 PM CDT
FDA Panel Votes to Recommend Revoking Approval of Avastin as Breast Cancer Drug
An FDA panel voted to cease approval for Avastin as a breast cancer treatment.   (AP Photo/Genentech Inc.)

(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 Wall Street Journal. FDA chief Margaret Hamburg will make the final decision.

"I think we all wanted Avastin to succeed but the reality is that these studies did not bear out that hope," says a patient representative on the panel. Following the vote, patients in the audience began shouting angrily at the committee. "What do you want us to take?" yelled one woman. "We have nothing else!" If the FDA continues with its withdrawal, drugmaker Roche could lose up to $1 billion in revenue from its top product, notes Reuters. Avastin is approved to treat other cancers, and that would not change no matter what Hamburg decides. (Read more breast cancer stories.)

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