No Such Thing as an Average Cancer Patient

My colleague Greg Conko has an excellent piece in today’s Wall Street Journal. Greg doesn’t think it’s right that the FDA is denying terminally ill patients access to potentially life-saving treatments.

The latest case in point is a drug called Avastin. It is approved for treating several types of cancer. But the FDA is moving to revoke its approval for treating breast cancer. This has, understandably, upset many breast cancer patients and their doctors.

The heart of the matter is who shall be in charge of treatment decisions. Should it be patients and doctors? Or should the FDA decide for them?

Greg thinks a decentralized approach is better. Different patients will react to the same drug in different ways. A doctor can see if Avastin works or not for a patient, and they can make the right decision from there. The FDA relies on averages and medians for making its approval decisions, ignoring individuals. The trouble with that is, as Greg points out, there is no such thing as an average cancer patient.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Greg about Avastin and the FDA here.

One response to “No Such Thing as an Average Cancer Patient

  1. Thank you for posting this Ryan! Freedom of Access to Medicines is the non-profit leading the effort against the FDA from disproving Avastin from these 17,500 women surviving on it, and are trying to bring awareness to this issue that most of the country has no idea about! Today its Avastin but tomorrow it may be a heart disease or diabetes drug that you or a family member is living on, yet the FDA decides to yank it. Please sign & share our urgent petition: