Wicker, Harper and Nunnelee fight FDA’s decision to remove breast cancer drug

Madison resident Christi Turnage was told in 2008 that she probably only had a couple of years to live.

Despite the return of an aggressive, incurable form of breast cancer, she is still kicking, and she credits Avastin – a medication the Federal Drug Administration revoked its approval for on Friday.

“It’s just devastating,” Turnage, 49, said of the FDA’s decision. “It’s very sad.”

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg explained the decision, saying that the drug has not been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of breast cancer.

Several members of Mississippi’s Congressional delegation said they are disappointed with the decision.

“While drug safety is an important consideration, women taking Avastin have run out of options,” said 3rd District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper. “Until a cure is developed or a greater number of successful treatment alternatives are available, women with metastatic breast cancer should be allowed the option of taking Avastin.”

Sen. Roger Wicker said: “For some battling this deadly disease, Avastin is the only option.”

Wicker sent a letter to Hamburg in July asking the FDA to think of patients who rely on Avastin as their last option. Four of his Senate colleagues also signed it.

Harper and 1st District U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee also sent a letter to the commissioner, and it was signed by 15 of their House colleagues.

Clarion Ledger
11/21/11