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FDA rejects Avastin for breast cancer treatment‎

A box of Avastin. The FDA revoked approval of the Roche Pharmaceuticals drug.

Steve Chiotakis: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today Roche Pharmaceuticals drug Avastin has not been shown to be safe or effective for breast cancer. Marketplace's Amy Scott is now with the latest on that story. Hey Amy.

Amy Scott: Hey.

Chiotakis: So why this ruling from the FDA?

Scott: Well the drug has dangerous side effects, including high blood pressure, bleeding, and heart failure. And it hasn't been shown to be effective in treating breast cancer, so the FDA says those risks aren't justified. I spoke earlier with consultant David Williams with MedPharma Partners. He says the decision is not a surprise.

David Williams: It's been known since July 2010 that this was probably going to happen, and the recommendation was affirmed in June. So it would be a surprise if anything different had occurred.

But it's obviously disappointing for patients who want as many treatment options as possible.

Chiotakis: Well Avastin is used to treat other cancers as well, right? How is this going to affect overall sales of the drug?

Scott: It's used to treat certain types of colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer. And will stay on the market for those uses. So Williams says in terms of the manufacturer, he doesn't expect a big hit.

Chiotakis: All right. Marketplace's Amy Scott for us this morning. Amy, thanks.

Scott: You're welcome.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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