Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body. Avastin works by preventing the growth of new blood vessels – a process called angiogenesis. Sales of Avastin generate more than $6 billion each year.
In 2008, the FDA approved Avastin for use in metastatic breast cancer. The FDA approval was controversial at the time, because an advisory panel recommended against approval, since it only slowed tumor growth but failed to extend survival.
Efficacy of Avastin
In July 2010, the six members of the FDA oncology drug panel voted that Avastin is ineffective, unsafe and should have its approval for breast cancer withdrawn. The risks of taking Avastin – including high blood pressure, bleeding, holes in the nose, stomach, and intestines, heart attack, and heart failure – were also significant, according to the FDA. As a result, the FDA revoked the indication for treatment of advanced breast cancer.
The combined data from four different clinical trials showed that Avastin neither prolonged overall survival nor slowed disease progression sufficiently to outweigh the risk it presents to patients. The manufacturers of Avastin, Roche Pharmaceuticals, appealed the FDA's decision to recall approval of Avastin for breast cancer treatment. However, in July 2011, another advisory panel affirmed the prior decision unanimously.
Help If You've Been Injured by Avastin
At O'Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath, our attorneys understand that you may have been taking Avastin – with no positive effect. Our expertise and experience, combined with our highly trained staff, make us uniquely well equipped to handle even the most complex product liability cases.
If you have breast cancer and took Avastin, and need to talk to a seasoned team of professionals, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.