update: insurance companies begin withdrawing reimbursement for Avastin

The fallout has begun. While the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has yet to make its final decision about the approval or its revocation of the drug bevacizumab (Avastin®), the insurance companies are beginning to announce their withdrawal of reimbursement for the drug. Blue Shield of California was one of the first, noting that they will review decisions case by case. That seems to indicate that perhaps some patients’ need will be considered in the process. They also indicated they will continue to pay for patients’ treatment with Avastin who are already receiving treatment. Two other insurers have also announcement the end of their reimbursement for Avastin: Regence and Dakotacare.

On July 1, 2011, I wrote about the decision from Medicare to continue reimbursement for treatment with Avastin and on August 4, 2011, about the vote by the NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) to keep bevacizumab as a viable treatment for metastatic breast cancer; the NCCN is influential on insurance reimbursement decisions.

Blue Shield of California Won’t Cover Breast Cancer Drug. By Andrew Pollack. In The New York Times 10-2-11

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© 2004–2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.

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