First published 6/30/11 in The Fiscal Times:
How much should you, your insurer or the government pay for an extra month of life? How much is an extra month of hope worth, even if doesn’t extend life?
Those questions never came up during this week’s Food and Drug Administration appeal hearing on the agency’s decision to withdraw approval from the Roche-Genentech drug Avastin for advanced metastatic breast cancer. But they will be front and center in the years ahead as medical science and the drug industry continue to bring advanced cancer therapeutics to market that have only marginal effects on a devastating disease that takes half million lives a year, most of whom are elderly and receive treatment through Medicare.