In the news – 10.3.11

Oct 03, 2011 | Labs Blog

Baby Joseph, born with degenerative brain disease, died at 20 months old.  Baby Joseph had been in a Canadian hospital where his parents refused to have his breathing tube removed, but wanted a tracheotomy.  The Canadian hospital refused to perform the tracheotomy and the family was unsuccessful in seeking a court order for the procedure.  A right to life group brought Baby Joseph to the United States, where the tracheotomy was performed.  Baby Joseph died at home.

According to an expert panel, cancer treatment costs risk becoming “unsustainable.”  This is very interesting in light of the ongoing Avastin battle.  This summer the federal advisory committee unanimously recommended that the F.D.A. rescind Avastin’s approval as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer.  According to the F.D.A., clinical trials found that the drug did not prolong the lives of breast cancer patients, but merely delayed progression of the disease by 1-3 months.  Therefore, the committee determined that the benefit of progression-free survival was outweighed by the serious potential side effects from the drug.  However, after that finding, Medicare indicated that it would continue to pay for the drug, which costs between $4,000 and $9,000 a month.  At least one private insurer has indicated that it will not cover Avastin for breast cancer patients.

– Kim Child