FDA Cancer Division Head Defends Avastin Decision
Defending Decision: The head of the FDA’s cancer-drug division defended the agency’s proposal to strip Genentech’s Avastin of its marketing approval for breast cancer, the WSJ reports. Richard Pazdur tells the paper that there were longtime issues with the trial Genentech says shows Avastin can delay tumor growth in advanced breast cancer patients, and that the cost of the drug wasn’t an issue. Studies have not shown that the drug prolongs actual survival in breast-cancer patients, and there is a risk of serious side effects, the FDA says.
Budgeting Battle: Republicans are rejecting an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that puts the cost of repealing the health-care overhaul law at $230 billion over ten years, the New York Times reports. House Speaker John Boehner says the CBO’s scoring of the health bill is based on incorrect assumptions and double-counting by the bill’s proponents.
Mad About Medicaid: The health-care overhaul law includes the eventual expansion of Medicaid to cover 16 million lower-income Americans, but Republican governors are now asking the Obama administration to permit states to drop enrollees without losing federal funding, the WSJ reports. In a letter to be sent today, 33 GOP governors call the effect of the federal requirements “unconscionable,” the paper says.
Insurance Inquiries: California’s brand-new insurance commissioner wants nonprofit insurer Blue Shield of California to hold off on some planned steep premium increases so he can analyze them, the Los Angeles Times reports. Blue Shield has said that the increases, which will amount to a total of 59% for some policyholders over a period of more than a year, have nothing to do with the health-care overhaul law but are a consequence of ongoing trends in the individual market.
Jan 10, 2011