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CMS: Avastin coverage same, for now

July 1, 2011 11:45 PM UTC

After an FDA advisory panel voted this week to withdraw accelerated approval for Avastin bevacizumab to treat first-line HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer, CMS told BioCentury that Medicare will continue to reimburse for the Genentech Inc. drug -- for now. "We are aware of the recent advisory committee vote as part of FDA's ongoing review. As the situation evolves, we will continue to evaluate and consider our options," CMS spokesperson Donald McLeod said (see BioCentury Extra, June 29).

If FDA decides to remove the indication from Avastin's label, CMS could continue to reimburse for the drug off label. One resource the agency uses in deciding whether or not to reimburse for an off-label cancer drug is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's treatment guidelines. NCCN's 2010 guidelines recommend Avastin plus paclitaxel in first-line metastatic breast cancer. ...