A Step Closer to Death Panels

Discussion in 'Healthcare/Insurance/Govt Healthcare' started by boedicca, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    Federal Health Authorities are expected to prevail in getting the FDA to unapprove Avastan (an $80K per year drug) for breast cancer patients.

    And recall the position on reducing the use of mammograms some months ago. It's quite clear that the Feds are intent on reducing access to "expensive" procedures and drugs. In this case, the FDA is the means to reduce treatment.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary, the advisory committee claims its recommendation had nothing to do with Avastin's cost. The FDA's top brass will doubtlessly take the same line and claim that its decision to ratify that recommendation was based solely on the drug's medical efficiency.

    The truth is that Avastin is expensive. A year-long supply for breast cancer treatment costs upwards of $80,000.

    However, many American women are getting something priceless in return for those dollars: life and vitality. In one clinical trial, nearly 50% of patients receiving Avastin witnessed their tumors shrink. Another study found that patients receiving the drug in conjunction with chemotherapy lived "progression-free" twice as long as patients without it.

    What's more, for a select group of "super responders," Avastin can improve life span by years. That can mean years of extra time for, say, a mother to attend her son's soccer games, for a daughter to vacation with her husband, or for a grandmother to watch her grandchildren grow up. ...


    The Fatal Move From The FDA - Forbes.com
     
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  2. BlindBoo
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    BlindBoo Gold Member

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    I don't know enough about Avastan, but I will find out......

    On the mammograms however.....

    Federal panel recommends reducing number of mammograms - washingtonpost.com

    Petitti stressed that the task force is not recommending against mammography, but that it hopes the new guidelines will lead more women to make their decisions based on their personal circumstances.

    Those at high risk because of a family history of breast cancer, for example, or those who are simply more worried about the disease might still opt to have annual screenings, she said.
     
  3. RDD_1210
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    RDD_1210 Forms his own opinions

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    So let's hear your viewpoint. Let's say that Avastin DOES help cancer patients but is VERY expensive. Do you think the drug should still be permitted to be used regardless of what it costs?
     
  4. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    "US breast cancer drug decision 'marks start of death panels'
    A decision to rescind endorsement of the drug would reignite the highly charged debate over US health care reform and how much the state should spend on new and expensive treatments.

    Avastin, the world’s best selling cancer drug, is primarily used to treat colon cancer and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008 for use on women with breast cancer that has spread.

    The drug was initially approved after a study found that, by preventing blood flow to tumours, it extended the amount of time until the disease worsened by more than five months. However, two new studies have shown that the drug may not even extend life by an extra month.

    The FDA advisory panel has now voted 12-1 to drop the endorsement for breast cancer treatment. The panel unusually cited "effectiveness" grounds for the decision. But it has been claimed that "cost effectiveness" was the real reason ahead of reforms in which the government will extend health insurance to the poorest.

    The Avastin recommendation led to revived allegations that President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the US health care system would mean many would be denied treatments currently available."
    US breast cancer drug decision 'marks start of death panels' - Telegraph
     
  5. Intense
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    Intense Senior Member

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    The more the Fed will need to pay out in costs, the more desperate, it will be in finding excuses not to.
     
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  6. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    Yes. If the drug is effective, then it is up to the patient and his or her doctor to decide if it is to be part of the treatment protocol.

    It certainly is not the business of a few bureaucrats in DC to decide.

    Other things in life are expensive: homes, cars, vacations. Why should it be anybody else's business what we decide to purchase?
     
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  7. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    I expect this is the first in long train of FDA Unapprovals.

    Afterall, Obama said that all we need is aspirin. And that's all that will be left on the approved list for the little people. The Politically Connected Elite will still have access to these medicines.
     
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  8. xotoxi
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    xotoxi Platinum Member

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    The FDA did not factor the cost of the medication into their decision.

    If the same results were found with aspirin therapy, the FDA would not have approved aspirin for treatment of breast cancer...even though the treatment cost would have been pocket change.
     
  9. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    We should be very careful as to whom we give power of life and death:

    "No one should subscribe to the reasoning of a bioethicist, even one as eminent as Dr Emanuel, without kicking the tyres. He should be asked two questions: what makes us human and what makes right right and wrong wrong. If we can agree on the philosophical bits, it is much more likely that we will agree on the practical consequences which flow from them.

    Let's say that your mother has Alzheimer's and breaks her hip. Let's say that all the bioethicists on the hospital ethics committee have degrees in behavioral economics, psychology, decision theory or sociology. Would you find that reassuring? When tough decisions have to be made about her future, would you expect them to treat your mother as a unique human being with inalienable dignity? Probably not. Probably the thought would cross your mind that these guys may know a lot about quality-adjusted life years, but not a lot about how precious a human life is. In fact, the thought might cross your mind that this looks more like a death panel than an ethics committee.

    No doubt the ASBH would respond, “Trust us! We are honourable men. Decent people like us would never ignore your mother's dignity.” Hopefully this is true of most members of the ASBH. But “trust us” is not a very persuasive argument
    http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/death_panel_dudgeon/
    (emphasis mine)
     
  10. boedicca
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    boedicca Uppity Water Nymph Supporting Member

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    The FDA had already approved Avastin - this is a reversal of prior approval - and highly suspect.

    If someone wishes to take the risk in order to gain a few extra months of life - that is none of the government's business.

    We're going to see more of this.
     

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