PHOTOS: Breast Cancer Patients Protest FDA Hearing On Avastin Drug | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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PHOTOS: Breast Cancer Patients Protest FDA Hearing On Avastin Drug

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Breast cancer survivors and their families gathered outside the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md. June 28 to show support for Avastin, a breast cancer drug.
Pete Thompson
Breast cancer survivors and their families gathered outside the Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md. June 28 to show support for Avastin, a breast cancer drug.

The agency is holding hearings today and tomorrow on whether Avastin will be approved for use by metastatic breast cancer patients. The drug was given conditional approval in 2008, but FDA officials said last year they would pull that approval because there is not enough evidence that the drug is safe and effective in the treatment of breast cancer.

About 40 or 50 protesters gathered outside the FDA early this morning to protest on the issue. Many of the women suffering from breast cancer protesting this morning say Avastin has drastically increased their life expectancy.

Many of them believe that without the FDA's continued approval of this drug, they'll have to start paying $8,000 to $10,000 a month in premiums.

Breast cancer patient Arlene Callie credits her survival to Avastin. She says the FDA's proposal will force people to pay the massive premiums.

"They can't mortgage their homes, or raid their kids' college fund for one year's worth of mediation," she says.

The protesters originally began demonstrating in front of the building, but Department of Homeland Security police arrived and pushed them back to the sidewalk. The protesters believe they've had approval for the past eight weeks to protest in front of the building.

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