OBR Daily Commentary

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Genentech Takes Another Shot at Convincing FDA to Maintain Avastin’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Approval

(GEN News) Aug 5, 2011 - Intent on persuading FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., to retain Avastin’s metastatic breast cancer (MBC) indication, Genentech has restated its proposal to conduct a new confirmatory Phase III trial of the drug with the chemo drug paclitaxel in Her2-negative MBC.

Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: August 10, 2011)

quotesAs we await the final ruling it is interesting to see the discussion evolve. It varies from calls for hard science to emotional appeals by desperate patients. In the end the jury is still out. The data are conflicting. The confirmatory studies which ODAC used to make its recommendation to pull are different than the initial trial on which the first recommendation was made. The patients and protocols are somewhat different. I agree additional studies are needed. In the interim, regardless of the final FDA determination, Avastin remains available for off-label use supported by continued NCCN guidelines. quotes

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Medicare Costs for Hospice Up 70%

(USA Today) Aug 7, 2011 - Medicare costs for hospice care have increased more than in any other health care sector as for-profit companies continue to gain a larger share of the end-of-life medical market, government records show.

Thomas Marsland, MD (Posted: August 10, 2011)

quotesThere is no question the types of patients being enrolled into hospice has changed. Cancer is no longer the most common diagnosis. Dementia, COPD, and CHF are now commonly included. We still struggle getting cancer patients into hospice in a timely appropriate fashion. Quality end-of-life care is critical for our cancer patient. Determining a prognosis is difficult enough in a cancer patient but can be even more challenging with some of these more chronic diagnosis. Continued education on palliative end-of-life care is critical to assure appropriate usage. Cost for all aspects of healthcare are rising but we need to be sure that appropriate care is still available.quotes

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Op-Ed: Shortchanging Cancer Patients

(New York Times) Aug 6, 2011 - Right now cancer care is being rationed in the United States. Probably to their great disappointment, President Obama’s critics cannot blame this rationing on death panels or health care reform.

Howard S. Hochster, MD (Posted: August 08, 2011)

quotesDr. Emanuel brings up a major issue with generic drug shortages which has affected all of us and caused some major difficulties for our patients. He uses this issue effectively for some political haymaking. He is not really correct when implying that these manufacturers are not making generic Leucovorin or doxorubicin because they can switch to more lucrative drugs. These are the generic manufacturers who aren't making big bucks on the newly approved agents. The problems have been poor manufacturing practices, explosions which disabled plants and a host of operational difficulties. In fact, Eisai is currently having major manufacturing problems resulting in shortages with the pricey brand name drug, Ontak. I agree that giving companies and physicians more of a margin on dispensing generics might bring usage into a somewhat better balance at a small cost, but the shortage problem is quite a bit more complex.quotes

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Meet the Editorial Board

Community Oncology
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Dean Gesme, MD

FACP FACPE FASCO President, Minnesota Oncology...

Breast Cancer
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Debu Tripathy, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncol...

Lung Cancer
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H. Jack West, MD

Medical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, Swedish Ca...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Howard S. Hochster, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Woo...

Radiation Oncology
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Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO

Ronald H. Bloom Chair in Cancer Therapeutics
Pr...

Community Oncology
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Jeff Patton, M.D.

CEO Tennessee Oncology...

Precision Medicine Section Editor
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Jennifer Levin Carter, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer and Founder, N-of-One...

Financial Sector
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Michael G. King Jr.

Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Richard Goldberg, MD

Director WVU Cancer Institute Director of Cancer Signa...

Editor-In-Chief
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Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP

Professor and Director, Division of Hematology Oncology...

Health Policy
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Ted Okon

Executive Director Community Oncology Alliance...

Community Oncology
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Thomas Marsland, MD

Vice President Integrated Community Oncology Network ...

Community Oncology
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William Harwin MD

Florida Cancer Specialists President and Managing Part...

Health Policy
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William McGivney, PhD

National Health Policy Expert...

Payer
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Winston Wong, PharmD

President, W-Squared Group...