Always interesting and engaging, Jessica Wapner has discussed the bevacizumab (Avastin) saga and a recent recommendation made to the FDA that the drug is not appropriate for the treatment of breast cancer. It is a difficult example because the drug is prohibitively expensive, will evoke a positive response in a relatively small proportion of patients, and is potentially unsafe for others.
Insurance companies are amongst the very few stakeholders that genuinely benefit from improving the health of their customers. The US is notoriously bad with their quality-to-cost ratio. Given these issues, is it such a bad thing if the insurance companies use their power as a counterweight to the pharmaceutical industry – promoting cost-effective care instead of inflating the profitability of bad drugs and over-prescribing?