While we await the decision of the FDA on whether to rescind the approval for Avastin® (bevacizumab), we have heard that Medicare will continue to pay for the drug for advanced breast cancer patients. Insurers may or may not follow Medicare’s lead, but it seems likely that some will continue to pay for patients who are already successfully treating with Avastin. It is still unknown whether third-party payers will pay for the drug off label, though that may not be as far-fetched, either, in cases that oncologists believe Avastin might be warranted.
Now, a committee of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with one abstention, has voted 24 to zero in favor of continuing to keep bevacizumab, in combination with paclitaxel, as a legitimate treatment for advanced breast cancer. Although unknown at this time, this decision may influence third-party payers in favor of treatment for cases that warrant treatment with Avastin.
Despite the FDA’s final decision that is likely to rescind approval, breast cancer patients might be able to find obtain treatment with Avastin, which though having failed to show improved overall survival and progression-free survival, may still benefit a select group of patients.
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