California insurer opts out of coverage for breast cancer drug
Oct 3, 2011
Blue Shield of California has announced that it will stop issuing Roche Holding AG's drug Avastin for the treatment of breast cancer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This insurer is the biggest to pull out of coverage after the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the revoke of Avastin's approval for breast cancer treatment. The drug has been deemed successful for other forms of cancer, but two studies have found that the risks outweigh the benefits for breast cancer patients, according to the news source.
Genentech, Avastin's maker, continues to advocate for the drug's approval, as it can delay the growth of tumors for about five months and improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients, the media outlet reports.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women in the U.S. will eventually be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lifetime. This disease is the second most common form of cancer among women, following only skin cancer.