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FDA withdraws approval for breast cancer drug Avastin after declaring it medically useless, but says doctors can still prescribe it

Sunday, November 27, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Avastin, breast cancer drugs, health news

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(NaturalNews) Several years after declaring it to be not only medically useless but also dangerous, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially withdrawn approval for the $100,000 breast cancer drug Avastin. In a statement, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that Avastin has never been proven to be safe or effective, but also in the same breath noted that doctors can still prescribe the drug if they feel like it.

"FDA recognizes how hard it is for patients and their families to cope with metastatic breast cancer and how great a need there is for more effective treatments," Hamburg is quoted as saying by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "But patients must have confidence that the drugs they take are both safe and effective for their intended use."

After being rapidly approved for use by the FDA back in 2007, Avastin quickly generated more than $1.7 billion for its producer Genentech within the first year. When the FDA finally got around to actually reviewing the drug after approving it, though, the agency discovered that Avastin does not lengthen the lives of breast cancer patients, and that it carries with it severe side effects that include death (http://www.naturalnews.com/023524_drug_avast...).

In her 69-page report on Avastin, Hamburg wrote that Avastin's side effects include high blood pressure, bleeding, heart attack or heart failure, and the development of perforations in the nose, stomach and intestines. In at least one case, a patient taking Avastin has died from infection.

But the way the FDA is handling the situation shows how blatantly biased it is towards the drug industry. Avastin was proven dangerous and ineffective several years ago, but the FDA allowed it to remain on the market. Now, it has decided to withdraw approval for Avastin, but is still allowing it to remain on the market.

If Avastin had been a dietary supplement in the same predicament, the agency would have immediately withdrawn its approval (if it would have approved it in the first place), and demanded that it be removed from the market. The agency likely would have also shut down Avastin's manufacturer, as it has done a lot worse to supplement companies that produce safe and effective natural treatments.

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